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Zheng, Yao, Schulz, Matthias, Lou, Wenjing, Hou, Y. Thomas, Hollick, Matthias.  2016.  Profiling the Strength of Physical-Layer Security: A Study in Orthogonal Blinding. Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Security & Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks. :21–30.

Physical layer security for wireless communication is broadly considered as a promising approach to protect data confidentiality against eavesdroppers. However, despite its ample theoretical foundation, the transition to practical implementations of physical-layer security still lacks success. A close inspection of proven vulnerable physical-layer security designs reveals that the flaws are usually overlooked when the scheme is only evaluated against an inferior, single-antenna eavesdropper. Meanwhile, the attacks exposing vulnerabilities often lack theoretical justification. To reduce the gap between theory and practice, we posit that a physical-layer security scheme must be studied under multiple adversarial models to fully grasp its security strength. In this regard, we evaluate a specific physical-layer security scheme, i.e. orthogonal blinding, under multiple eavesdropper settings. We further propose a practical "ciphertext-only attack" that allows eavesdroppers to recover the original message by exploiting the low entropy fields in wireless packets. By means of simulation, we are able to reduce the symbol error rate at an eavesdropper below 1% using only the eavesdropper's receiving data and a general knowledge about the format of the wireless packets.

Schulz, Matthias, Klapper, Patrick, Hollick, Matthias, Tews, Erik, Katzenbeisser, Stefan.  2016.  Trust The Wire, They Always Told Me!: On Practical Non-Destructive Wire-Tap Attacks Against Ethernet. Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Security & Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks. :43–48.

Ethernet technology dominates enterprise and home network installations and is present in datacenters as well as parts of the backbone of the Internet. Due to its wireline nature, Ethernet networks are often assumed to intrinsically protect the exchanged data against attacks carried out by eavesdroppers and malicious attackers that do not have physical access to network devices, patch panels and network outlets. In this work, we practically evaluate the possibility of wireless attacks against wired Ethernet installations with respect to resistance against eavesdropping by using off-the-shelf software-defined radio platforms. Our results clearly indicate that twisted-pair network cables radiate enough electromagnetic waves to reconstruct transmitted frames with negligible bit error rates, even when the cables are not damaged at all. Since this allows an attacker to stay undetected, it urges the need for link layer encryption or physical layer security to protect confidentiality.

Schulz, Matthias, Loch, Adrian, Hollick, Matthias.  2016.  DEMO: Demonstrating Practical Known-Plaintext Attacks Against Physical Layer Security in Wireless MIMO Systems. Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Security & Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks. :201–203.

After being widely studied in theory, physical layer security schemes are getting closer to enter the consumer market. Still, a thorough practical analysis of their resilience against attacks is missing. In this work, we use software-defined radios to implement such a physical layer security scheme, namely, orthogonal blinding. To this end, we use orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) as a physical layer, similarly to WiFi. In orthogonal blinding, a multi-antenna transmitter overlays the data it transmits with noise in such a way that every node except the intended receiver is disturbed by the noise. Still, our known-plaintext attack can extract the data signal at an eavesdropper by means of an adaptive filter trained using a few known data symbols. Our demonstrator illustrates the iterative training process at the symbol level, thus showing the practicability of the attack.