Wireless Network Security: Building on Erasures

Principal investigators: Christina Fragouli (UCLA), Suhas Diggavi (UCLA)

Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Project timeline: 2013-2016

Project synopsis: This project aims to advance our fundamental understanding of secrecy over arbitrary wireless networks. Over the last decade we have significantly deepened our fundamental understanding on how to send information over wireless networks, while our understanding on how to securely send this information has not reached the same depth as yet. This project aims to develop a unifying theory that enhances wireless secrecy by exploiting wireless properties such as: the existence of feedback (today part of all wireless standards); the possibility of selecting and using multiple network communication paths; the smart use of wireless jamming and the wireless channel variability and unpredictability. We enable this by “building on erasures:” through appropriate coding and smart wireless jamming, we convert (Gaussian) wireless networks to erasure networks. We then develop protocols that use interaction and feedback to enable provable security against active and passive adversaries, even if they are computationally unbounded.

The project also promotes the training of research engineers: we will integrate the research into the curriculum via the creation of novel coursework combining the underlying concepts in wireless communication, network coding/protocols, and information theory. The research in this project, if successful, will contribute to the fundamental sciences of information theoretic network security and secure network coding. Given our increasing dependence on wireless devices as a portal for socio-economic activities, wireless security will have broad implications in mobile commerce.