Computing That Serves

Enhancing Wireless Network Security Using Unique Device and Link Characteristics


Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 11:00am


Sneha Kasera
Associate Professor
School of Computing
University of Utah

We explore the use of unique device characteristics that we call fingerprints, and unique wireless link characteristics that we call link signatures, for enhancing wireless network security. Our fingerprinting research complements the traditional password and certificate methods for authenticating and identifying devices. Specifically, we show how the clock skew of an access point can be used as its fingerprint to detect unauthorized access points in wireless local area networks quickly and accurately.

We use link signatures to address the problem of a secure secret key establishment between two wireless devices that are within the range of each other. Specifically, we develop methods for secret key extraction from received signal strength variations on the wireless channel between the two devices. We use real world measurements to demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods in different environments. We also show a new predictable key generation attack in static environments.


Sneha Kumar Kasera is an Associate Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. From 1999-2003, he was a member of technical staff in the Mobile Networking Research Department of Bell Laboratories. Earlier, he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Master’s degree in Electrical Communication Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore. Dr. Kasera’s research interests include computer networks and systems encompassing mobile and pervasive systems and wireless networks, network security and reliability, social network applications, overload and congestion control, multicast communication, Internet measurements and inferencing. He is a recipient of the 2002 Bell Labs President’s Gold Award for his contribution to wireless data research. He has served in many technical program committees including those of ACM Mobicom, ACM Sigmetrics, IEEE Infocom, IEEE ICNP, and IEEE SECON, among others. He serves in the editorial boards of the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, ACM Sigmobile MC2R, ACM/Springer WINET, and Elsevier COMNET journals.