ShakeUnlock: Securely unlock mobile devices by shaking them together

Rainhard Findling, Muhammad Muaaz, Daniel Hintze, Rene Mayrhofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The inherent weakness of typical mobile device unlocking approaches (PIN, password, graphic pattern) is that they demand time and attention, leading a majority of end users to disable them, effectively lowering device security. We propose a method for unlocking mobile devices by shaking them together, implicitly passing the unlocked state from one device to another. One obvious use case includes a locked mobile phone and a wrist watch, which remains unlocked as long as strapped to the user's wrist. Shaking both devices together generates a one-time unlocking event for the phone without the user interacting with the screen. We explicitly analyze the usability critical impact of shaking duration with respect to the level of security. Results indicate that unlocking is possible with a true match rate of 0.795 and true non match rate of 0.867 for a shaking duration as short as two seconds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number9999999
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2014


  • Mobile environments
  • Security and Privacy Protection
  • Authentication
  • Time series analysis
  • Frequency domain
  • Mobile devices
  • Shaking
  • Accelerometer
  • Usability

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