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Secure transmission of information over hostile wireless environments is desired by both military and civilian parties. Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DS-SS) is such a covert technique resistant to interference, interception and multipath fading. Identifying spread-spectrum signals or cracking DS-SS systems by an unintended receiver (or eavesdropper) without a priori knowledge is a challenging problem. To address this problem, the authors first search for the start position of data symbols in the spread signal (for symbol synchronization); their method is based on maximizing the spectral norm of a sample covariance matrix, which achieves smaller estimation error than the existing method of maximizing the Frobenius norm.
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