Everlasting Security in Wireless Communication Systems

The goal of this project is to develop a new approach to the everlasting protection of information from interception by adversaries in wireless communication networks, with a focus on the scenario where an eavesdropper obtains a higher-quality version of the transmitted signal than the desired recipient. In particular, information-theoretic secrecy can provide everlasting secrecy without the assumptions on the future computational capabilities of the eavesdroppers required in standard cryptography, but information-theoretic secrecy requires assumptions on the network topology. These assumptions have often been cited as "showstoppers" for the employment of information-theoretic secrecy. By exploiting imperfections in the receiver hardware of eavesdroppers, our goal is to provide information theoretic (and hence everlasting) secrecy regardless of the locations of eavesdroppers and system nodes.

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants CIF-1249275 and CIF-1421957. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

In addition to the research below, we are active in undergraduate education and K-12 outreach . Recently, Prof. Goeckel advised a senior capstone project that developed an intuitive 3-D modeling interface at both the input and output; most notable is an output that is a true 3-D hologram. Prof. Goeckel and the team have begun to take the "hologram machine" on the road, visiting a local elementary school on May 8th, 2014 to engage young students in math and science. You can read a bit about the project here , and see a video of the project here .

We recently gave a two-hour invited tutorial lecture at the 2014 International Conference on Networking and Communications (ICNC 2014) that highlighted the challenges of everlasting security in wireless communications and methods to seek it . The slides are available here:

  • D. Goeckel, "Everlasting Security and Undetectability in Wireless Communications," (PPT file), Internation Conference on Networking and Communications, February 2014.
  • A (very short) related tutorial paper was invited for the 2014 URSI General Assembly:
  • D. Goeckel, A. Sheikholeslami, and C. Capar, "Everlasting Secrecy in Wireless Communications: Challenges and Approaches," (PDF file), 2014 URSI General Assembly.
  • The original for attacking the receiver hardware to obtain everlasting secrecy, and a simple power modulation instantiation of it, was presented in:

  • A. Sheikholeslami, D. Goeckel, and H. Pishro-Nik, "Exploiting the Non-Commutativity of Nonlinear Operators for Information-Theoretic Security in Disadvantaged Wireless Environments to Exploit Receiver Imperfections for Secrecy," (PDF file), Allerton Conference on Communications, Control, and Computing, 2012.

  • A. Sheikholeslami, D. Goeckel, and H. Pishro-Nik, "Everlasting Secrecy by Exploiting Non-Idealities of the Eavesdropper's Receiver," (PDF file), IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications: Special Issue on Signal Processing Techniques for Wireless Physical Layer Security , September 2013.

  • The power modulation scheme listed above is susceptible to a sophisticated eavesdropper, in particular on with multiple receiver chains with different gains. This has motivated us to consider different methods to thwart the sophisticated eavesdropper: (1) by inducing an intentional intersymbol interference (ISI) channel, for which Bob has an advantage in equalization (ISIT 2013), or (2) employing an added jamming signal at the transmitter, for which Bob has an advantage in cancellation (Asilomar 2014 and IEEE TWireless). We also have considered the utilization of the jamming technique in wireless networks to solve the difficult (and important) "near eavesdropper" problem (IEEE TWireless):

  • A. Sheikholeslami, D. Goeckel, and H. Pishro-Nik, "Everlasting Secrecy in Disadvantaged Wireless Environments against Sophisticated Eavesdroppers," (PDF file), Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems, and Computers, November 2014.

  • A. Sheikholeslami, D. Goeckel, and H. Pishro-Nik, "Artificial Intersymbol Interference (ISI) to Exploit Receiver Imperfections for Secrecy," (PDF file), International Symposium on Information Theory, July 2013.

  • A. Sheikholeslami, D. Goeckel, and H. Pishro-Nik, "Jamming Based on an Ephemeral Key to Obtain Everlasting Security in Wireless Environments," (PDF file), IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, November 2015.

  • A. Sheikholeslami, M. Ghaderi, H. Pishro-Nik, and D. Goeckel, "Energy-Efficient Secrecy in Wireless Networks Based on Random Jamming," (PDF file), IEEE Transactions on Communications, June 2017.

  • We are also interested in understanding the jamming game that dominates wideband adversarial communications: both as an impediment and as a tool to reduce the dynamic range of eavesdroppers. Towards this end, we have started to study communication in the present of active jammers:

  • A. Sheikholeslami, H. Pishro-Nik, M. Ghaderi, and D. Goeckel, On the Impact of Dynamic Jamming on End-to-End Delay in Linear Wireless Networks," (PDF file), Conference on Information Sciences and Systems, March 2014.

  • A. Sheikholeslami, M. Ghaderi, H. Pishro-Nik, and D. Goeckel, "Jamming-Aware Minimum Energy Routing in Wireless Networks," (PDF file), International Conference on Communications , June 2014.

  • A. Sheikholeslami, M. Ghaderi, H. Pishro-Nik, and D. Goeckel, "Minimum Energy Routing in Wireless Networks in the Presence of Jamming," (PDF file), IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, October 2016.

  • We have also introduced in privacy an analog to information-theoretic security; in particular, we define an information theoretic notion of Perfect Location Privacy. In the proposed framework, we employ anonymization and/or obfuscation as our location privacy protection mechanism to hide the identity of users over time. We assume the strongest adversary, i.e., we assume that the adversary has complete statistical knowledge of the users' movements, is observing the anonymized users and her goal is to de-anonymize the location data, and consider the number of observations required by an adversary to break a user's privacy in the limit of a large number of users (CISS 2016, ISIT 2017, IEEE TIFS). In addition, motivated by this work which suggests a trace ``matching game'' is the key to privacy when considering many location privacy applications, we have also started to consider a fundamental investigation of this problem in the non-asymptotic regime (Asilomar 2017).

  • Z. Montazeri, A. Houmansadr, and H. Pishro-Nik, Defining Perfect Location Privacy Using Anonymization," (PDF file), Conference on Information Sciences and Systems, 2016.

  • N. Takbiri, A. Houmansadr, D. Goeckel, and H. Pishro-Nik, Limits of Location Privacy under Anonymization and Obfuscation," (PDF file), International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT), 2017.

  • Z. Montazeri, A. Houmansadr, and H. Pishro-Nik, "Achieving Perfect Location Privacy in Wireless Devices Using Anonymization," (PDF file), IEEE Transaction on Information Forensics and Security , to appear, 2017.

  • K. Li, H. Pishro-Nik and D. Goeckel, Bayesian Time Series Matching and Privacy ," (PDF file), Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems, and Computers, 2017.