Secure friend discovery based on encounter history in mobile social networks

Hongjuan Li*, Yingwen Chen, Xiuzhen Cheng, Keqiu Li, Dechang Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Mobile social networking becomes increasingly popular with the explosive growth of mobile devices. By allowing mobile users to interact with potential friends around the real world, it enables new social interactions as a complement to Web-based online social networks. In this paper, we introduce a secure friend discovery mechanism based on encounter history in mobile social networks. By exploring the fact that sharing encounters indicate common activities and interests, our scheme can help people make friends with like-minded strangers nearby. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to take advantage of the encounter history in friend discovery. We provide peer-to-peer confidential communications with the location privacy and encounter privacy being strictly preserved. Unlike most existing works that either rely on a trusted centralized server or existing social relationships, our algorithm is designed in an ad hoc model with no such limitation. As a result, our design is more suitable and more general for mobile social scenarios. Extensive theoretical analysis and experimental study are conducted, and the results indicate that our scheme is feasible and effective for privacy-preserving friend discovery in mobile social networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1009
Number of pages11
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Issue number7
StatePublished - 26 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Encounter
  • Location privacy
  • Mobile social networks
  • Secure friend discovery


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