On the Security of Key Extraction From Measuring Physical Quantities

Matthew Edman, Aggelos Kiayias, Qiang Tang, Bülent Yener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Key extraction via measuring a physical quantity is a class of information theoretic key exchange protocols that rely on the physical characteristics of the communication channel, to enable the computation of a shared key by two parties that share no prior secret information. The key is supposed to be information theoretically hidden to an eavesdropper. Despite the recent surge of research activity in the area, concrete claims about the security of the protocols typically rely on channel abstractions that are not fully experimentally substantiated. In this paper, we propose a novel methodology for the experimental security analysis of these protocols. The crux of our methodology is a falsifiable channel abstraction that is accompanied by an efficient experimental approximation algorithm of the conditional min-entropy available to the parties given the view of the eavesdropper. We focus on the signal strength between two wirelessly communicating transceivers as the measured quantity, and we use an experimental setup to compute the conditional min-entropy of the channel given the view of the attacker which we find to be linearly increasing. Armed with this understanding of the channel, we showcase the methodology by providing a general protocol for key extraction in this setting that is shown to be secure for a concrete parameter selection. In this way, we provide a comprehensively analyzed wireless key extraction protocol that is demonstrably secure against passive adversaries assuming our falsifiable channel abstraction. Our use of hidden Markov models as the channel model and a dynamic programming approach to approximate conditional min-entropy might be of independent interest, while other possible instantiations of our methodology can be feasible and may be motivated by this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7435287
Pages (from-to)1796-1806
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computer Networks and Communications

Keywords

  • Physical layer key extraction
  • information theoretic security

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