UCBlocker: Unwanted Call Blocking Using Anonymous Authentication


Changlai Du and Hexuan Yu, Virginia Tech; Yang Xiao, University of Kentucky; Y. Thomas Hou, Virginia Tech; Angelos D. Keromytis, Georgia Institute of Technology; Wenjing Lou, Virginia Tech


Telephone users are receiving more and more unwanted calls including spam and scam calls because of the transfer-without-verification nature of global telephone networks, which allows anyone to call any other numbers. To avoid unwanted calls, telephone users often ignore or block all incoming calls from unknown numbers, resulting in the missing of legitimate calls from new callers. This paper takes an end-to-end perspective to present a solution to block unwanted calls while allowing users to define the policies of acceptable calls. The proposed solution involves a new infrastructure based on anonymous credentials, which enables anonymous caller authentication and policy definition. Our design decouples caller authentication and call session initiation and introduces a verification code to interface and bind the two processes. This design minimizes changes to telephone networks, reduces latency to call initiation, and eliminates the need for a call-time data channel. A prototype of the system is implemented to evaluate its feasibility.

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@inproceedings {291297,
author = {Changlai Du and Hexuan Yu and Yang Xiao and Y. Thomas Hou and Angelos D. Keromytis and Wenjing Lou},
title = {{UCBlocker}: Unwanted Call Blocking Using Anonymous Authentication},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {445--462},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity23/presentation/du},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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