Defending Wireless Systems from Interference

The open nature of the wireless medium makes it easy for interference to be directed at a variety of wireless communication systems. My team’s research has involved exploring how this interference can be performed, how it can be detected and how wireless systems can be protected from this interference. We have identified a broad array of interference attacks, ranging from sophisticated attacks involving deeper knowledge of communications systems, to those that can be launched easily using commodity wireless devices.

We have developed techniques that make wireless networks resilient in the presence of interference through a collection of tools that diagnose interference, adapt the underlying communication mechanisms, cyberphysically adjust the position of communicating parties, and the creation of a highly resilient overlay using a timing channel created out of communication failures. One particularly important lesson we have learned is that the channel estimation process can be easily subverted and therefore should be protected through complementary authentication mechanisms.

Related reading: On the Vulnerability of CSI in MIMO Wireless Communication Systems