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 unauthorized 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 a UWB system built 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 12 Jun 2018

Contact author: patrick leu at inf ethz ch

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Version: 20180612:143249 (All versions of this report)

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