Fingerprints in the Ether: Using the Physical Layer for Wireless Authentication

Date Added: Jul 2009
Format: PDF

The wireless medium contains domain-specific information that can be used to complement and enhance traditional security mechanisms. In this paper the authors propose ways to exploit the fact that, in a typically rich scattering environment, the radio channel response decorrelates quite rapidly in space. Specifically, they describe a physical-layer algorithm that combines channel probing (M complex frequency response samples over a bandwidth W) with hypothesis testing to determine whether current and prior communication attempts are made by the same user (same channel response). In this way, legitimate users can be reliably authenticated and false users can be reliably detected.