Privacy Leakage of Physical Activity Levels in Wireless Embedded Wearable Systems

Xenofon Fafoutis, Letizia Marchegiani, Georgios Z. Papadopoulos, Robert Piechocki, Theo Tryfonas, George Oikonomou

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
479 Downloads (Pure)


With the ubiquity of sensing technologies in our personal spaces, the protection of our privacy and the confidentiality of sensitive data becomes a major concern. In this paper, we focus on wearable embedded systems that communicate data periodically over the wireless medium. In this context, we demonstrate that private information about the physical activity levels of the wearer can leak to an eavesdropper through the physical layer. Indeed, we show that the physical activity levels strongly correlate with changes in the wireless channel that can be captured by measuring the signal strength of the eavesdropped frames. We practically validate this correlation in several scenarios in a real residential environment, using data collected by our prototype wearable accelerometer-based sensor. Lastly, we propose a privacy enhancement algorithm that
mitigates the leakage of this private information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-140
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Signal Processing Letters
Issue number2
Early online date20 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Structured keywords

  • Digital Health


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