Shake well before use: Intuitive and Secure Pairing of Mobile Devices

Rene Mayrhofer, Hans Gellersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


challenge in facilitating spontaneous mobile interactions is to provide pairing methods that are both intuitive and secure. Simultaneous shaking is proposed as a novel and easy-to-use mechanism for pairing of small mobile devices. The underlying principle is to use common movement as a secret that the involved devices share for mutual authentication. We present two concrete methods, ShaVe and ShaCK, in which sensing and analysis of shaking movement is combined with cryptographic protocols for secure authentication. ShaVe Is based on initial key exchange followed by exchange and comparison of sensor data for verification of key authenticity. ShaCK, in contrast, is based on matching features extracted from the sensor data to construct a cryptographic key. The classification algorithms used in our approach are shown to robustly separate simultaneous shaking of two devices from other concurrent movement of a pair of devices, with a false negative rate of under 12 percent. A user study confirms that the method is intuitive and easy to use, as users can shake devices in an arbitrary pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4796201
Pages (from-to)792-806
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Algorithm/protocol design and analysis
  • Authentication
  • Human-centered computing
  • Mobile applications
  • Mobile environments
  • Ubiquitous computing


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