Keyless Authentication for AWGN Channels

Eric Graves, Allison Beemer, Jorg Kliewer, Oliver Kosut, Paul L. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This work establishes that the physical layer can be used to perform information-theoretic authentication in additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channels, as long as the adversary is not omniscient. The model considered consists of an encoder, decoder, and adversary, where the adversary knows the message given to the encoder, has a non-causal noisy observation of the encoder's transmission and may use unlimited transmission power, while the decoder observes a noisy version of the sum of the encoder and adversary's outputs. A method to modify a generic existing channel code to enable authentication is presented. This method relies on injecting message-dependent noise into the transmission and accepting the transmission as authentic only if the correct noise levels for the decoded message are observed. One drawback to this method is that the encoder must still transmit a low-power signal in the case where there is no message to send. It is shown that this modification costs an asymptotically negligible amount of the coding rate, while still enabling authentication as long as the adversary's observation is not noiseless. Also notable is that this modification is not (asymptotically) a function of the statistical characterization of the adversary's channel and no secret key is required. We believe these features will pave the way for a robust practical implementation. Using these results, the channel-authenticated capacity is calculated and shown to be equal to the non-adversarial channel capacity. As our results will show, information-theoretic authentication in AWGN channels is possible without the need for the legitimate party to have a model-based advantage over the adversary. While this modular scheme is designed for use in the given channel model, it is applicable to a wide range of settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-519
Number of pages24
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Channel capacity
  • authentication
  • information theory
  • multiuser channels
  • security
  • wireless


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