Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2017/1240

UWB with Pulse Reordering: Securing Ranging against Relay and Physical Layer Attacks

Mridula Singh and Patrick Leu and Srdjan Capkun

Abstract: Physical layer attacks allow attackers to manipulate (spoof) ranging and positioning. These attacks had real world impact and allowed car thefts, executions of unauthorised payments and manipulation of navigation. UWB impulse radio (UWB-IR) has emerged as a prominent technique for precise ranging that allows high operating distances despite power constraints by transmitting multi-pulse symbols. Unfortunately, longer symbols make UWB-IR vulnerable to physical layer attacks. Currently, none of the existing systems is precise, performant and secure at the same time. We present UWB with Pulse Reordering (UWB-PR), the first modulation scheme that secures distance measurement between two mutually trusted devices against all physical-layer attacks without sacrificing performance and irrespective of the environment or attacker. We analyze the security of UWB-PR under the attacker that fully controls the communication channel and show that UWB-PR resists even such a strong attacker. We evaluate UWB-PR within an UWB system building on IEEE 802.15.4f and show that it achieves distances of up to 93m with 10cm precision (LoS).

Category / Keywords: applications / secure ranging, physical layer security

Date: received 19 Dec 2017, last revised 23 Dec 2017

Contact author: patrick leu at inf ethz ch

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Version: 20171223:140202 (All versions of this report)

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