Blind transmitter authentication for spectrum security and enforcement


Recent advances in spectrum access technologies, such as cognitive radios, have made spectrum sharing a viable option for addressing the spectrum shortage problem. However, these advances have also contributed to the increased possibility of “hacked” or “rogue” radios causing harm to the spectrum sharing ecosystem by causing significant interference to other wireless devices. One approach for countering such threats is to employ a scheme that can be used by a regulatory entity (e.g., FCC) to uniquely identify a transmitter by authenticating its waveform. This enables the regulatory entity to collect solid evidence of rogue transmissions that can be used later during an adjudication process. We coin the term Blind Transmitter Authentication (BTA) to refer to this approach. Unlike in the existing techniques for PHY-layer authentication, in BTA, the entity that is authenticating the waveform is not the intended receiver. Hence, it has to extract and decode the authentication signal “blindly” with little or no knowledge of the transmission parameters. In this paper, we propose a novel BTA scheme called Frequency offset Embedding for Authenticating Transmitters (FEAT). FEAT embeds the authentication information into the transmitted waveform by inserting an intentional frequency offset. Our results indicate that FEAT is a practically viable approach and is very robust to harsh channel conditions. Our evaluation of FEAT is based on theoretical bounds, simulations, and indoor experiments using an actual implementation.

ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS)