SyncBleed: A Realistic Threat Model and Mitigation Strategy for Zero-Involvement Pairing and Authentication (ZIPA)


Zero Involvement Pairing and Authentication (ZIPA) is a promising technique for auto-provisioning large networks of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. Presently, these networks use password-based authentication, which is difficult to scale to more than a handful of devices. To deal with this challenge, ZIPA enabled devices autonomously extract identical authentication or encryption keys from ambient environmental signals. However, during the key negotiation process, existing ZIPA systems leak information on a public wireless channel which can allow adversaries to learn the key. We demonstrate a passive attack called SyncBleed, which uses leaked information to reconstruct keys generated by ZIPA systems. To mitigate SyncBleed, we present TREVOR, an improved key generation technique that produces nearly identical bit sequences from environmental signals without leaking information. We demonstrate that TREVOR can generate keys from a variety of environmental signal types under 4 seconds, consistently achieving a 90-95% bit agreement rate across devices within various environmental sources.

Jack West
Jack West
PhD Student

I’ve been doing research all over the place before I landed on privacy. I have worked with cryptography, randomness, and fog computing while at Loyola. I have since migrated to privacy work which is now my main interest.