Velody: Nonlinear Vibration Challenge-Response for Resilient User Authentication


Biometrics have been widely adopted for enhancing user authentication, benefiting usability by exploiting pervasive and collectible unique charactersticts from physiological or behavioral traits of human. However, successful attacks on ‘static’ biometrics such as fingerprints have been reported where an adversary acquires users’ biometrics stealthily and compromises nonresilient biometrics. To mitigate the vulnerabilities of static biometrics, we leverage the unique and nonlinear hand-surface vibration response and design a system called Velody to defend against various attacks including replay and synthesis. The Velody system relies on two major properties in hand-surface vibration responses: uniqueness, contributed by physiological characteristics of human hands, and nonlinearity, whose complexity prevents attackers from predicting the response to an unseen challenge. Velody employs a challenge-response protocol. By changing the vibration challenge, the system elicits input-dependent nonlinear ‘symptoms’ and unique spectrotemporal features in the vibration response, stopping both replay and synthesis attacks. Also, a large number of disposable challenge-response pairs can be collected during enrollment passively for daily authentication sessions. We build a prototype of Velody with an off-the-shelf vibration speaker and accelerometers to verify its usability and security through a comprehensive user experiment. Our results show that Velody demonstrates both strong security and long-term consistency with a low equal error rate (EER) of 5.8% against impersonation attack while correctly rejecting all other attacks including replay and synthesis attacks using a very short vibration challenge.

Proceedings of the 2019 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security