A paper authored by Warren B. Nelms Institute faculty and PhD students has won Distinguished Paper Award at IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2022, held May 23-26, 2022. The paper, titled “Invisible Finger: Practical Electromagnetic Interference Attack on Touchscreen-based Electronic Devices” was authored by UF doctoral students Haoqi Shan, Boyi Zhang, Zihao Zhan; UF Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Shuo Wang, PhD, and associate professor Yier Jin, PhD; and University of New Hampshire assistant professor Dean Sullivan, PhD. This research achievement resulted from the team effort of both students and professors with comprehensive expertise.
“IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy is the top security and privacy conference in the world with a low acceptance rate of around 13%. Only 4 distinguished paper awards were selected from more than 1100 submitted papers in 2022,” Dr. Shuo Wang said.
The paper shows that touchscreen-based electronic devices are vulnerable to intentional electromagnetic interference (IEMI) attacks. Touchscreen-based electronic devices such as smart phones and smart tablets are widely used in our daily life. While the security of electronic devices have been heavily investigated recently, the resilience of touchscreens against various attacks has yet to be thoroughly investigated. This paper demonstrates not just the attack itself, but also analyzes and quantifies the underlying mechanism allowing the novel IEMI attack on touchscreens in detail.
“Our research disclosed, quantified, and demonstrated a mechanism for attacking touchscreen-enabled devices with intentional electromagnetic interference. The touchscreen-enabled electronic products have been very popular in recent years especially in consumer electronic products such as smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers, so our research will have a big impact on our lives, and it can help the industry to design more-secured electronic products for every one of us. ” – Dr. Shuo Wang
A short video demonstrating the attack on a touchscreen device can be watched on YouTube.