2nd International ICST Workshop on Security and Multimodality in Pervasive Environments

Research Article

Tangible Security for Mobile Devices

        author={Yuqun Chen and Michael Sinclair},
        title={Tangible Security for Mobile Devices},
        proceedings={2nd International ICST Workshop on Security and Multimodality in Pervasive Environments},
        keywords={Security tokens RFID NFC encryption AES mobile devices.},
  • Yuqun Chen
    Michael Sinclair
    Year: 2010
    Tangible Security for Mobile Devices
    DOI: 10.4108/ICST.MOBIQUITOUS2008.3936
Yuqun Chen1,*, Michael Sinclair1,*
  • 1: Microsoft Research, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA USA
*Contact email: yuqunc@microsoft.com, sinclair@microsoft.com


Existing measures to secure the internal data on mobile devices can generally fall into two categories: passwords and biometrics. Neither is satisfactory, for different reasons. We propose a new scheme, analogous to using physical keys to unlock doors or a plug-in security dongle to unlock software. The user wears one or more security tokens whose presence in the close proximity of the user’s cell phone allows the secrets on the phone to be unlocked. As long as the thief is unable to steal both the token and the cell phone, security is mostly guaranteed. We call this approach tangible security. This preliminary paper describes how such a system could be built and used.