With the proliferation of numerous personal gadgets and smart devices, device pairing has become prominent in introducing security to such a diverse environment. Clearly, the process of secure device pairing is much more ambiguous than previously thought. This stems from the fact that there is no coherent vision of the pairing problem among the research community. To this end, we see that there is a plethora of various pairing protocols that have been proposed many of which are insecure or fail to work in practice. Clearly, there is no single winner in a device pairing race.
Correspondingly, one solution to such a problem is to support several pairing methods. However, from a user prospective this may create an additional burden. On top of that, some pairing protocols may be less appropriate security‐wise in certain scenarios. For instance, if a paring method relies on audio but is used in a noisy environment, this creates an additional attack vector or causes reliability issues. Another example are visual paring techniques used in a public place, which can be subject to shoulder surfing.
Overall, in this thesis you will research which contextual information that can be gathered by a modern smartphone can augment in secure device pairing. We already have a working Android implementation which performs different methods of device pairing.
More specifically, your task is to identify which factors can be potentially hazardous or beneficial for a certain pairing method in a particular scenario. The context that we are going to incorporate includes both the environmental information as well as the user input (feedback, preferences, etc.). Hence, you’ll take measurements on the smartphone to rate the environmental information, and perform a small user study (20-30 users) on the device pairing usability.