Poster: The Petri Dish Attack - Guessing Secrets Based on Bacterial Growth

Krombholz, Katharina and Dabrowski, Adrian and Purgathofer, Peter and Weippl, Edgar
(2018) Poster: The Petri Dish Attack - Guessing Secrets Based on Bacterial Growth.
In: NDSS 2018.
Conference: None | Not Set

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Abstract

PINs and unlock patterns remain by far the most common knowledge-based authentication methods on mobile devices. Biometric authentication methods such as fingerprints also rely on PINs and unlock patterns as fallback methods. In recent years, several attacks on knowledge-based mobile authentication have been presented, e.g., shoulder-surfing [1], smudge attacks [2] and thermal attacks [3]. In this poster, we present the Petri dish attack, a novel attack to guess secrets based on bacterial growth. We conducted a series of lab experiments with 20 Petri dishes to evaluate the feasibility of this new attack and unfortunately were not able to successfully conduct the attack on off-the-shelf smartphones. However, we still believe that our results are valuable to the scientific community and provide a baseline to explore future crossdomain attack vectors and interdisciplinary approaches on smartphone security.

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