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Vorträge 2013

Randomness and Wireless Security
Don Towsley
Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 3 p.m., TU Hochhaus, 20th floor, Room Auditorium (TEL 20)


The wireless media is a rich source of randomness. In this talk we focus on two problems in securing wireless communication. In the first part we describe a practical way to harness this randomness to provide and/or improve the security of wireless communications. We introduce the notion of "dynamic secrets", information shared by two parties, Alice and Bob, engaged in communication and not available to an adversary, Eve. The basic idea is to dynamically generate a series of secrets from inevitable transmission errors and other random factors present in wireless communications. These dynamic secrets exhibit interesting security properties and offer an alternative to or complement existing security protocols. As part of the talk we will present a simple algorithm for generating these secrets and using them to update a shared key.

In some situations, Alice and Bob may want not only to secure their communications but even to hide it. In the second part of our talk we focus on the use of randomness to conceal the communications. Here the challenge is for Alice to communicate with Bob without an adversary, Willie the warden ever realizing that the communication is taking place. Specifically, we show that Alice can sendΟ(√n) bits to the Bob in n channel uses with probability of detection by Willie less than ε for any ε > 0. Conversely, attempting to transmit more than Ο(√n) bits either results in detection by Willie with probability one or a non-zero probability of decoding error by Bob as n → ∞.

Short Biography

Don Towsley holds a B.A. in Physics (1971) and a Ph.D. in Computer Science (1975) from University of Texas.  He is currently a Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts in the Department of Computer Science.  He has held visiting positions at numerous universities and research labs. His research interests include networks and performance evaluation.

He currently serves on the editorial board of IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications and previously served as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking and on numerous other editorial boards.  He has served as Program Co-chair of several conferences including INFOCOM 2009.

He has received numerous achievement awards including the 2007 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Award, and numerous paper awards including a 2008 ACM SIGCOMM Test-of-Time Paper Award and the 2012 ACM SIGMETRICS Test-of-Time Award.  Last, he has been elected Fellow of both the ACM and IEEE.


Marco Canini

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