Security Analysis of Physical Layer Key Exchange Mechanisms

Master Thesis



[Abstract of final thesis] Artificial interference, also known as jamming, is widely discussed to ensure confidentiality in wireless communication. This physical layer security mechanism aims at increasing the eavesdropper’s error rate by transmitting artificial noise. While a confidential message is transmitted, the noise interferes the signal received by eavesdroppers and prevents them from decoding the correct signal. A promising key exchange protocol is based on this approach but jams only certain parts of the signal. The intended receiver still decodes the signal properly whereas an eavesdropper does not know which parts in the signal are disrupted. In this work; we evaluate the secrecy of such key exchange mechanisms and identify their limitations. In contrast to other publications that assume a single-antenna eavesdropper only, we consider a multi-antenna eavesdropper and design a concrete attack scenario by exploiting the diversity of interfered signals. For practical evaluation the Wireless Open-Access Research Platform (WARP) is utilized. Our results show, that our attack achieves error rates much lower than comparable attacks and discloses all confidential information in a wireless communication. Thereby, we conclude that artificial interference cannot provide sufficient protection for sensitive key ex- change in presence of multi-antenna eavesdroppers.


Student: Daniel Steinmetzer

Research Areas: Sichere Mobile Netze



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Hollick

Technische Universität Darmstadt
Department of Computer Science
Secure Mobile Networking Lab 

Mornewegstr. 32 (S4/14)
64293 Darmstadt, Germany

Phone: +49 6151 16-25472
Fax: +49 6151 16-25471


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