6thSense: A Context-aware Sensor-based Attack Detector for Smart Devices


Amit Kumar Sikder, Hidayet Aksu, and A. Selcuk Uluagac, Florida International University


Sensors (e.g., light, gyroscope, accelerometer) and sensing enabled applications on a smart device make the applications more user-friendly and efficient. However, the current permission-based sensor management systems of smart devices only focus on certain sensors and any App can get access to other sensors by just accessing the generic sensor API. In this way, attackers can exploit these sensors in numerous ways: they can extract or leak users’ sensitive information, transfer malware, or record or steal sensitive information from other nearby devices. In this paper, we propose 6thSense, a context-aware intrusion detection system which enhances the security of smart devices by observing changes in sensor data for different tasks of users and creating a contextual model to distinguish benign and malicious behavior of sensors. 6thSense utilizes three different Machine Learning-based detection mechanisms (i.e., Markov Chain, Naive Bayes, and LMT) to detect malicious behavior associated with sensors. We implemented 6thSense on a sensor-rich Android smart device (i.e., smartphone) and collected data from typical daily activities of 50 real users. Furthermore, we evaluated the performance of 6thSense against three sensor-based threats: (1) a malicious App that can be triggered via a sensor (e.g., light), (2) a malicious App that can leak information via a sensor, and (3) a malicious App that can steal data using sensors. Our extensive evaluations show that the 6thSense framework is an effective and practical approach to defeat growing sensor-based threats with an accuracy above 96% without compromising the normal functionality of the device. Moreover, our framework costs minimal overhead.

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@inproceedings {203854,
author = {Amit Kumar Sikder and Hidayet Aksu and A. Selcuk Uluagac},
title = {{6thSense}: A Context-aware Sensor-based Attack Detector for Smart Devices},
booktitle = {26th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 17)},
year = {2017},
isbn = {978-1-931971-40-9},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
pages = {397--414},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity17/technical-sessions/presentation/sikder},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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