The widespread adoption of mobile devices gives rise to new opportunities and challenges for authentication mechanisms. Many traditional authentication mechanisms become unsuitable for smart devices. For example, while password is widely used on computers as user identity authentication, inputting password on small smartphone screen is error-prone and not convenient. In the meantime, there are emerging demands for new types of authentication. Proximity authentication is an example, which is not needed for computers but quite necessary for smart devices. These challenges motivate me to study and develop novel authentication mechanisms specific for smart devices.
In this dissertation, I am interested in the special authentication demands of smart devices and about to satisfy the demands. First, I study how the features of smart devices affect user identity authentications. For identity authentication domain, I aim to design a continuous, forge-resistant authentication mechanism that does not interrupt user-device interactions. I propose a mechanism that authenticates user identity based on the user's finger movement patterns. Next, I study a smart-device-specific authentication, proximity authentication, which authenticates whether two devices are in close proximity. For prox- imity authentication domain, I aim to design a user-friendly authentication mechanism that can defend against relay attacks. In addition, I restrict the authenticated distance to the scale of near field, i.e., a few centimeters. My first design utilizes a user's coherent two-finger movement on smart device screen to restrict the distance. To achieve a fully-automated system, I explore acoustic communications and propose a novel near field authentication system.