Thesis in Progress

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Using their current operating systems, it is possible to automatically unlock a Mac with a paired Apple Watch. The Auto Unlock protocol relies on Bluetooth and Apple’s proprietary WiFi extensions known as Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL) which is currently being reverse engineered in our group.

Your job is to find out more about the workings of the protocol and assess the security properties of the system. For example whether it is possible to mount a wormhole attack to allow an adversary to remotely unlock the computer.


Bachelor Thesis


Bachelor Thesis

In recent macOS and iOS devices, Apple includes IEEE 802.11ac chipsets with which it is possible to communicate directly between two peers while remaining connected to an infrastructure WiFi which requires some sort of channel hopping. As a proprietary protocol, Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL) is known to be used by AirPlay, AirDrop, and the Multipeer Connectivity Framework.

Reverse engineering AWDL could pave to way for a vendor-independent high-performance device-to-device link layer which would be highly beneficial for use cases such as emergency communication.

Using tools such as Wireshark and IDA Pro:

  • Gain as much information as possible about AWDL (frame format, protocol state machine, ...)
  • Write a Wireshark plugin to document your findings
  • Finally, connect a non-Apple device via AWDL

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Hollick

Technische Universität Darmstadt
Department of Computer Science
Secure Mobile Networking Lab 

Mornewegstr. 32 (S4/14)
64293 Darmstadt, Germany

Phone: +49 6151 16-25472
Fax: +49 6151 16-25471

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