Location Based Handshake and Private Proximity Test with Location Tags

Yao Zheng, Ming Li, Wenjing Lou, Y. Thomas Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A location proximity test service allows mobile users to determine whether they are in close proximity to each other, and has found numerous applications in mobile social networks. Unfortunately, existing solutions usually reveal much of users' private location information during a proximity test. They are also vulnerable to location cheating where an attacker reports false locations to gain an advantage. Moreover, the initial trust establishment among unfamiliar users in large scale mobile social networks has been a challenging task. In this paper, we propose a novel scheme that enables a user to perform (1) a location based handshake that establishes secure communications among strangers, who do not have a pre-shared secret, and (2) a privacy-preserving proximity test without revealing the user's actual location to the server or other users not within the proximity. The proposed scheme is based on a novel concept, i.e., spatial-temporal location tags, and we put forward a location tag construction method using environmental signals that provides an unforgeable location proof. We use Bloom filters to efficiently represent users' location tags and vicinity regions. We exploit fuzzy extractor, a lightweight cryptographic primitive, to extract shared secrets between matching location tags. We conduct extensive analysis, simulation, and real experiments to demonstrate the feasibility, security, and efficiency of our scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-419
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Location-based service
  • bloom filter
  • fuzzy extractor
  • location cheating
  • location privacy
  • proximity test
  • spatial-temporal location tag

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Computer Science


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