Traffic signature-based mobile device location authentication

Jack Brassil, Pratyusa K. Manadhata, Ravi Netravali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Spontaneous and robust mobile device location authentication can be realized by supplementing existing 802.11x access points (AP) with small cells. We show that by transferring network traffic to a mobile computing device associated with a femtocell while remotely monitoring its ingress traffic activity, any internet-connected sender can verify the cooperating receiver's location. We describe a prototype non-cryptographic location authentication system we constructed, and explain how to design both voice and data transmissions with distinct, discernible traffic signatures. Using both analytical modeling and empirical results from our implementation, we demonstrate that these signatures can be reliably detected even in the presence of heavy cross-traffic introduced by other femtocell users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6565980
Pages (from-to)2156-2169
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Algorithm/protocol design and analysis
  • Mobile communication systems


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