Robust and Lightweight Security Framework for Low-power Wide-area Network

Project: Research

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Low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) communication technologies have emerged as a viable alternative to cellular and short-range wireless technologies to fulfill the diverse requirements of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. LPWAN technologies provide unique features that legacy wireless technologies do not yet offer, including wide-area connectivity for low-power and low data rate devices, at the cost of ultra-low bandwidth and long packet airtime. The new technology provides tremendous opportunities for the development of IoT; however, it also presents substantial potential risks.  Recent studies have revealed many security vulnerabilities in LPWAN, and the lesson from Internet technology is that ignoring security at the outset leads to huge pain when the technology becomes ubiquitous. Motivated by this, the overall goal of this project is to advance the fundamental understanding of these emerging security concerns in LPWAN and to propose corresponding solutions. Specifically, we have two concrete research tasks in this project: secret key generation and secure code dissemination. In Task 1, we will investigate novel channel features and key generation schemes that can improve key generation rates significantly. In Task 2, we will design a secure over-the-air code dissemination protocol for LPWAN-based IoT, which includes a secure and energy-efficient protocol based on a multicast communication primitive, as well as a new encryption primitive to minimize the energy and memory consumption of constrained IoT devices. However, non-trivial research challenges must be surmounted if this goal is to be achieved. The unique features of LPWAN—namely, ultra-low bandwidth and long packet airtime, create new challenges for secure communication protocols. This project will address these challenges and investigate important aspects of LPWAN security that are poorly understood today. This project is timely because the need to safely manage critical infrastructure is urgent. There is now broad acceptance of IoT technology in our daily life, and security attacks on our cyberspace and IoT devices are escalating. The expected contributions from this work include new theories, methods and system mechanisms that will form the basis for a novel robust and energy-efficient framework to enable secure communication in LPWAN. The new techniques described here will provide better security features for the growing number of LPWAN-based IoT devices globally, and the principles on which these features are developed can be applied to a wide range of IoT devices.  


Project number9048178
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/21 → …