Securing Wearables through The Personal Fog

Date: Monday, February 4, 2019

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: 235 Weir Hall

Speaker: Dr. Charles Walter


Abstract: Wearable computing devices have become ubiquitous, with fitness and health trackers, smart watches capable of making payments, and hearables tracking heart rate and providing real-time language translation. Wearables repeatedly collect data from their users and surroundings, transmitting that data back to their base station via Bluetooth. Sometimes this data is anonymized and sent to cloud servers for analysis and additional storage, though often the data is associated with a user when it is sent to the cloud. Unfortunately, wearables are open to attack vectors that most users are unaware of. Attack vectors such as eavesdropping, Man-in-the-Middle attacks, Denial of Service attacks, and phishing attacks are all possible. Worse, wearables can fall prey to these attacks without the user becoming aware of the situation. Because wearables are designed to be worn at all times, a user can unwittingly move from a secure to an insecure environment, increasing the security threat. The challenge to experimenting with attacks and potential mitigations on wearables is the proprietary restrictions on consumer wearables.

In this talk, I discuss research to design, implement, and evaluate an architecture and application for securing wearables. The creation of the personal fog architecture provides additional power to the wearables at the network edge, allowing them to make decisions about their own security state. Experimentation is performed using a developed testbed of Raspberry Pis that simulate near-future wearables and their base stations in a social setting. I illustrate wearable attack vectors and describe how an application created for use by wearables in the personal fog architecture provides security and social awareness. An approach to automatic evaluation and verification of the wearable user is shown using a shared data method based on the personal fog architecture.


Bio: Dr. Charles Walter is a post-doctoral researcher at The University of Tulsa. He received his PhD from The University of Tulsa in 2018. His research interests include wearable security, fog computing, cybersecurity, self-adaptive systems, human trust in code, software engineering, computer science education, robotics, and Augmented and Virtual Reality.