ceClub: PowerSpy: Location Tracking using Mobile Device Power Analysis

Yan Michalevsky (Standford University)
Wednesday, 21.10.2015, 11:30
EE Meyer Building 861

Modern mobile platforms like Android enable applications to read aggregate power usage on the phone. This information is considered harmless and reading it requires no user permission or notification. We show that by simply reading the phone's aggregate power consumption over a period of a few minutes an application can learn information about the user's location. Aggregate phone power consumption data is extremely noisy due to the multitude of components and applications that simultaneously consume power. Nevertheless, by using machine learning algorithms we are able to successfully infer the phone's location. We discuss several ways in which this privacy leak can be remedied.

Yan is a PhD student at Stanford University, advised by Prof. Dan Boneh. Working in the general areas of applied cryptography and security, he has recently focused on mobile security and privacy.

His works on side-channel attacks on mobile devices were presented at Usenix Security and BlackHat security conferences. Previously, he worked in industry as a team manager, independent consultant, and software architect and developer, mostly in the fields of networks, embedded software and security.

Yan holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the Technion, and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

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