Paper 2011/129

Distance Hijacking Attacks on Distance Bounding Protocols

Cas Cremers, Kasper B. Rasmussen, Benedikt Schmidt, and Srdjan Capkun


After several years of theoretical research on distance bounding protocols, the first implementations of such protocols have recently started to appear. These protocols are typically analyzed with respect to three types of attacks, which are historically known as Distance Fraud, Mafia Fraud, and Terrorist Fraud. We define and analyze a fourth main type of attack on distance bounding protocols, called Distance Hijacking. This type of attack poses a serious threat in many practical scenarios. We show that many proposed distance bounding protocols are vulnerable to Distance Hijacking, and we propose solutions to make these protocols resilient to this type of attack. We show that verifying distance bounding protocols using existing informal and formal frameworks does not guarantee the absence of Distance Hijacking attacks. We extend a formal framework for reasoning about distance bounding protocols to include overshadowing attacks. We use the resulting framework to prove the absence of all of the found attacks for protocols to which our countermeasures have been applied. Previous proposals for distance bounding protocols only analysed their protocols with respect to some specific attack types, whose relations and problem coverage are unknown. To improve this situation, we define an exhaustive classification for attacks on distance bounding protocols.

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Published elsewhere. This is the full version of the IEEE S&P 2012 paper.
Distance boundinglocation verificationposition verificationattackshijackingmulti-prover environment
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cas cremers @ inf ethz ch
2012-08-29: last of 3 revisions
2011-03-17: received
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      author = {Cas Cremers and Kasper B.  Rasmussen and Benedikt Schmidt and Srdjan Capkun},
      title = {Distance Hijacking Attacks on Distance Bounding Protocols},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2011/129},
      year = {2011},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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