Tracking the human mobility using mobile device sensors

Takuya Watanabe, Mitsuaki Akiyama, Tatsuya Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We developed a novel, proof-of-concept side-channel attack framework called RouteDetector, which identifies a route for a train trip by simply reading smart device sensors: an accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope. All these sensors are commonly used by many apps without requiring any permissions. The key technical components of RouteDetector can be summarized as follows. First, by applying a machine-learning technique to the data collected from sensors, RouteDetector detects the activity of a user, i.e., "walking," "in moving vehicle," or "other." Next, it extracts departure/arrival times of vehicles from the sequence of the detected human activities. Finally, by correlating the detected departure/arrival times of the vehicle with timetables/route maps collected from all the railway companies in the rider's country, it identifies potential routes that can be used for a trip. We demonstrate that the strategy is feasible through field experiments and extensive simulation experiments using timetables and route maps for 9,090 railway stations of 172 railway companies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1680-1690
Number of pages11
JournalIEICE Transactions on Information and Systems
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug


  • Location identification
  • Mobile security
  • Side-channel attack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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