Tracking the Human Mobility Using Mobile Device Sensors

Takuya WATANABE  Mitsuaki AKIYAMA  Tatsuya MORI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E100-D   No.8   pp.1680-1690
Publication Date: 2017/08/01
Publicized: 2017/05/18
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2016ICP0022
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Information and Communication System Security)
Category: Privacy
mobile security,  side-channel attack,  location identification,  

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We developed a novel, proof-of-concept side-channel attack framework called RouteDetector, which identifies a route for a train trip by simply reading smart device sensors: an accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope. All these sensors are commonly used by many apps without requiring any permissions. The key technical components of RouteDetector can be summarized as follows. First, by applying a machine-learning technique to the data collected from sensors, RouteDetector detects the activity of a user, i.e., “walking,” “in moving vehicle,” or “other.” Next, it extracts departure/arrival times of vehicles from the sequence of the detected human activities. Finally, by correlating the detected departure/arrival times of the vehicle with timetables/route maps collected from all the railway companies in the rider's country, it identifies potential routes that can be used for a trip. We demonstrate that the strategy is feasible through field experiments and extensive simulation experiments using timetables and route maps for 9,090 railway stations of 172 railway companies.