Programmable Beacon for Proof of Location

#1

Hello,

I am looking to buy beacons for a Proof of Concept project. Proof of Location.

I need a beacon to output a unique payload every 5 minutes. When the application detects a beacon, it reads the payload. The payload is a hash and a time value. It sends the payload and its GPS coordinates to a server.
The server validates the GPS coordinate as being valid with the payload. The application is then authorised to make actions. The goal is to provide an anti cheat service for Augmented Reality Games.

The payload must change continuously otherwise an attacker can go collect a beacon payload and sent it to a friend 1000km away using an emulator to fake GPS coordinates.

When a beacon is deployed, a seed is programmed into the beacon along with the function. The authentication server knows the registered location of the Beacon and its secret seed.

On which Estimote Beacon can i program a mathematical function with input being the seed stored on the beacon and the current time value of the beacon. The timer can be a simple counter that counts the number of heartbeats… as long as its deterministic and increases over time.

Cheers

Charles.

#2

You can read about our Estimote Secure Monitoring tech, which is something we’ve built precisely for the purpose of secure presence/location verification. Our customers use it to securely check people in at a table in a restaurant, or to grant rewards for coming in to a certain place, without the risk of somebody gaming the system.

https://blog.estimote.com/post/172115262320/presence-verification-and-security-is-more-refined

There’s no GPS coordinates involved—the whole system currently requires that if we can validate that somebody is in range of beacon 123, you trust the location of the beacon 123. I guess maybe with the LTE Beacon (which has GPS), it would be possible to build something that would include GPS coordinates. Since the LTE Beacon is programmable, you might be able to just build it yourself (:

Anyway, it’d be best if you get in touch with our team at contact@estimote.com, since Secure Monitoring requires beacons with a Real-Time Clock, and these aren’t available for self-purchase on our website right now. Also, you’ll need an Estimote Cloud subscription, and they can hook you up with that (;

#3

Thank you for your answer.

The beacon is deployed in the wild. You cannot fully trust it. Its a game. Cheaters and trolls will exist. They will steal beacons if there is an incentive. So based on the hypothesis such beacons are cheap and common enough, the beacons will be stolen for in-game mechanics. The network of beacons will be maintained by local players, who themselves will buy the beacons, install them and check them for being stolen and thus be rewarded inside the game for it.

My job here is to evaluate the technical possibilities of beacons in order to design this network and do a POC.

I didn’t know LTE beacon had GPS. That’s interesting. On the other hand its bad news that none of the beacons currently on sale have internal clocking. So are you sure its not possible for current beacons to “count” heartbeats and send that info. I don’t need a Real-Time clock. Just a heart beat count that cannot be modified.

#4

If you cannot trust that a beacon is at a certain spot, then I guess proof of being in range of the beacon is kinda worthless, doesn’t matter what method to authenticate the beacon signal you use, clock or not. I’m not sure how you’d be able to work around that. GPS kinda helps, but if we’re considering all possibilities, note that it’s also possible to spoof GPS signal.

Our Proximity and Location beacons can only broadcast what we have programmed them to do, and for your project, Estimote Secure Monitoring is the closest fit. But yea, if the gamers need to be able to buy these themselves, then this isn’t really viable at the moment.

Sadly, I can’t really think of a good recommendation/solution here I’m afraid. It sounds like you have some idea of what you’d want such a beacon to broadcast, so you could get LTE Beacons or some other programmable micro-controller with Bluetooth, and do it yourself. But then it won’t be easy for gamers to set it up themselves.