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Securearray: Improving WiFi security with fine-grained physical-layer information

Xiong, J; Jamieson, K; (2013) Securearray: Improving WiFi security with fine-grained physical-layer information. In: Helal, S and Chandra, R and Kravets, R, (eds.) MobiCom '13: Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing & Networking. (pp. pp. 441-452). ACM: New York, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Despite the important role that WiFi networks play in home and enterprise networks they are relatively weak from a security standpoint. With easily available directional antennas, attackers can be physically located off-site, yet compromise WiFi security protocols such as WEP, WPA, and even to some extent WPA2 through a range of exploits specific to those protocols, or simply by running dictionary and human-factors attacks on users' poorly-chosen passwords. This presents a security risk to the entire home or enterprise network. To mitigate this ongoing problem, we propose SecureArray, a system designed to operate alongside existing wireless security protocols, adding defense in depth against active attacks. SecureArray's novel signal processing techniques leverage multi-antenna access point (AP) to profile the directions at which a client's signals arrive, using this angle-of-arrival (AoA) information to construct highly sensitive signatures that with very high probability uniquely identify each client. Upon overhearing a suspicious transmission, the client and AP initiate an AoA signature-based challenge-response protocol to confirm and mitigate the threat. We also discuss how SecureArray can mitigate direct denial-of-service attacks on the latest 802.11 wireless security protocol. We have implemented SecureArray with an eight-antenna WARP hardware radio acting as the AP. Our experimental results show that in a busy office environment, SecureArray is orders of magnitude more accurate than current techniques, mitigating 100% of WiFi spoofing attack attempts while at the same time triggering false alarms on just 0.6% of legitimate traffic. Detection rate remains high when the attacker is located only five centimeters away from the legitimate client, for AP with fewer numbers of antennas and when client is mobile.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Securearray: Improving WiFi security with fine-grained physical-layer information
Event: MobiCom '13, 19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing & Networking, 30 September - 4 October 2013, Miami, Florida, USA
ISBN-13: 9781450319997
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1145/2500423.2500444
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1145/2500423.2500444
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Wireless, AoA signature, 802.11, Antenna array system, Security, SecureArray, SecureAngle
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047562
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