Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Making Physical Inferences to Enhance Wireless Security

Prof. Jie Yang, Oakland University

1:00pm Tuesday, 8 April 2014, ITE 325b

The ubiquity of wireless is redefining security challenges as the increasingly pervasive wireless networks make it easier to conduct attacks for new and rapidly evolving adversaries. There is an urgent need to seek security solutions that can be built into any wireless network stack to defend against attacks across the current heterogeneous mix of wireless technologies, which do not require extensive customization on wireless devices and cannot be undermined easily even when nodes are compromised. In particular, security solutions that are generic across all wireless technologies and can complement conventional security methods must be devised. My research efforts are centered around exploiting physical properties correlated with pervasive wireless environments to enhance wireless security and make inferences for context-aware applications. In this talk, I will present my research work in exploiting spatial correlation as a unique physical property inherited from any wireless device to address identity-based attacks including both spoofing and Sybil. These attacks are especially harmful as the claimed identity of a wireless device is often considered as an important first step in an adversary’s attempt to launch a variety of attacks in different network layers.

Our proposed techniques address several challenges include (1) detecting identity-based attacks in challenging mobile environments, (2) determining the number of attackers, and (3) localizing multiple adversaries. I will also present our work in secret key generation for facilitating secure data communication in the increasing dynamic wireless environments. Our work addressed the problem of collaborative secret key extraction for a group of wireless devices without relying on a key distribution infrastructure. Moreover, in order to provide efficient secret key generation, we exploit fine-grained physical layer information, such as the channel state information made available from OFDM system, to improve the secret key generation rate and make the secret key extraction approach more practical.

Jie Yang received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in 2011. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Oakland University. His research interests include cyber security and privacy, and mobile and pervasive computing, with an emphasis on network security, smartphone security and applications, security in cognitive radio and smart grid, location systems and vehicular applications. His research is supported by National Science Foundation and Army Research Office. He is the recipient of the Best Paper Runner-up Award from IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security 2013 and the Best Paper Award from ACM MobiCom 2011. His research has received wide press coverage including MIT Technology Review, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNET News, and Yahoo News.

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