Detecting WiFi Covert Channels

Master Thesis

in progress

Analysis: 10
Empiricism: 1
Implementation: 3
Literature Research: 4


Covert channels aim at hiding traffic from others. Compared to the cryptographic attacker who can eavesdrop communication but is unable to decipher it, covert channels hinder from successful eavesdropping. Even if the covert channel gets successfully recorded, statistical analytics can not show if the recorded data contain a covert channel or not.

The wireless physical layer is perfect for hiding data, since transmissions are subject to noise from the environment that is hard to predict. However, this noise is not arbitrary and covert channels exceeding certain noise characteristics might be detectable.


By now, we implemented certain covert channels on a software defined radio platform [1]. These channels follow the 802.11a/g/n standard and are decodeable by standard wireless network interface cards. However, physical layer attackers might still be able to determine these covert channels.

Your task is to

  • perform statistical measurements in real-world WiFi environments,
  • analyze the existing covert channel implementations,
  • change the covert channels to follow real-world WiFi statistics, and
  • evaluate trade-off between detectability and throughput.

We recommend knowledge in MATLAB and signal processing.


  1. Jiska Classen, Matthias Schulz, and Matthias Hollick. Practical Covert Channels for WiFi SystemsIEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security (CNS), September 2015.


We aim at creating easy-to-use covert channels that are secure from sophisticated attacks.

Start: 01.06.2017


Student: Serafettin Ay

Research Areas: Sichere Mobile Netze, CROSSING , S1



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


A A A | Drucken Drucken | Impressum Impressum | Sitemap Sitemap | Suche Suche | Kontakt Kontakt | Webseitenanalyse: Mehr Informationen
zum Seitenanfangzum Seitenanfang