University of Sussex
Malkani,_Yasir_Arfat.pdf (2.87 MB)

A proof-of-proximity framework for device pairing in ubiquitous computing environments

Download (2.87 MB)
posted on 2023-06-07, 15:44 authored by Yasir Arfat Malkani
Ad hoc interactions between devices over wireless networks in ubiquitous computing environments present a security problem: the generation of shared secrets to initialize secure communication over a medium that is inherently vulnerable to various attacks. However, these ad hoc scenarios also offer the potential for physical security of spaces and the use of protocols in which users must visibly demonstrate their presence and/or involvement to generate an association. As a consequence, recently secure device pairing has had significant attention from a wide community of academic as well as industrial researchers and a plethora of schemes and protocols have been proposed, which use various forms of out-of-band exchange to form an association between two unassociated devices. These protocols and schemes have different strengths and weaknesses – often in hardware requirements, strength against various attacks or usability in particular scenarios. From ordinary user?s point of view, the problem then becomes which to choose or which is the best possible scheme in a particular scenario. We advocate that in a world of modern heterogeneous devices and requirements, there is a need for mechanisms that allow automated selection of the best protocols without requiring the user to have an in-depth knowledge of the minutiae of the underlying technologies. Towards this, the main argument forming the basis of this dissertation is that the integration of a discovery mechanism and several pairing schemes into a single system is more efficient from a usability point of view as well as security point of view in terms of dynamic choice of pairing schemes. In pursuit of this, we have proposed a generic system for secure device pairing by demonstration of physical proximity. Our main contribution is the design and prototype implementation of Proof-of-Proximity framework along with a novel Co- Location protocol. Other contributions include a detailed analysis of existing device pairing schemes, a simple device discovery mechanism, a protocol selection mechanism that is used to find out the best possible scheme to demonstrate the physical proximity of the devices according to the scenario, and a usability study of eight pairing schemes and the proposed system.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • Informatics Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • dphil


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected