Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Faculty of Science

School of Computer Science

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Professor Raja Jurdak
Professor of Distributed Systems & Chair in Applied Data Sciences
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science
Dr Gowri Ramachandran
Research Fellow in Distributed Systems, Blockchain and Internet of Things
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science


Contemporary location-based applications use GPS as the location source to prove the presence at a particular location or access location-based services. When devices connect to WiFi routers and cellular towers, one may prove that the devices were in a specific locality. However, this approach is not feasible due to privacy reasons as the cellular companies may not be willing to share a location proof for every user.

Relying on a GPS is also not trustworthy because users can use apps such as FakeGPS to fake their location. Other approaches include receiving a beacon from a roadside device and submit it as proof since a device must be within the reception range of the beacon emitter to receive it. While this approach sounds promising, it suffers from issues that include:

  • an attacker could collect beacons and relay them to devices in a remote location, which is identified as a threat in COVID-19 contact tracing applications
  • when a beacon is created for a particular mobile device, only the authorised user can collect and decrypt it. But this solution is not scalable when there are hundreds of users or cars in a given environment.

This project, therefore, aims to investigate a Sybil-resistant proof-of-location without using GPS as a primary source. The project also assumes that the devices can fake their GPS location.

Research activities

You are expected to focus on the following issues:

  • develop a threat model for Sybil-resistant proof-of-location and survey the literature to identify any existing solutions and their limitations
  • work closely with the supervisor and design a novel Sybil-resistant proof-of-location protocol
  • implement and evaluate the proposed protocol using our Raspberry Pi testbed (and mobile phones, maybe).


We plan to write a research article describing the findings of this work. This project has immense potential for the industry if the research activities are carried out diligently.

Skills and experience

You should have:

  • a willingness to work on new areas and challenging problems
  • a desire to read papers, develop software designs, and write software
  • the ability to code in Python or similar languages
  • experience with Raspberry Pi (desirable).



Contact the supervisor for more information.