Contributions to the security of cognitive radio networks
ColaboratorHernández Serrano, Juan; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament d'Enginyeria Telemàtica
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
The increasing emergence of wireless applications along with the static spectrum allocation followed by regulatory bodies has led to a high inefficiency in spectrum usage, and the lack of spectrum for new services. In this context, Cognitive Radio (CR) technology has been proposed as a possible solution to reuse the spectrum being underutilized by licensed services. CRs are intelligent devices capable of sensing the medium and identifying those portions of the spectrum being unused. Based on their current perception of the environment and on that learned from past experiences, they can optimally tune themselves with regard to parameters such as frequency, coding and modulation, among others. Due to such properties, Cognitive Radio Networks (CRNs) can act as secondary users of the spectrum left unused by their legal owners or primary users, under the requirement of not interfering primary communications. The successful deployment of these networks relies on the proper design of mechanisms in order to efficiently detect spectrum holes, adapt to changing environment conditions and manage the available spectrum. Furthermore, the need for addressing security issues is evidenced by two facts. First, as for any other type of wireless network, the air is used as communications medium and can easily be accessed by attackers. On the other hand, the particular attributes of CRNs offer new opportunities to malicious users, ranging from providing wrong information on the radio environment to disrupting the cognitive mechanisms, which could severely undermine the operation of these networks. In this Ph.D thesis we have approached the challenge of securing Cognitive Radio Networks. Because CR technology is still evolving, to achieve this goal involves not only providing countermeasures for existing attacks but also to identify new potential threats and evaluate their impact on CRNs performance. The main contributions of this thesis can be summarized as follows. First, a critical study on the State of the Art in this area is presented. A qualitative analysis of those threats to CRNs already identified in the literature is provided, and the efficacy of existing countermeasures is discussed. Based on this work, a set of guidelines are designed in order to design a detection system for the main threats to CRNs. Besides, a high level description of the components of this system is provided, being it the second contribution of this thesis. The third contribution is the proposal of a new cross-layer attack to the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) in CRNs. An analytical model of the impact of this attack on the throughput of TCP connections is derived, and a set of countermeasures in order to detect and mitigate the effect of such attack are proposed. One of the main threats to CRNs is the Primary User Emulation (PUE) attack. This attack prevents CRNs from using available portions of the spectrum and can even lead to a Denial of Service (DoS). In the fourth contribution of this the method is proposed in order to deal with such attack. The method relies on a set of time measures provided by the members of the network and allows estimating the position of an emitter. This estimation is then used to determine the legitimacy of a given transmission and detect PUE attacks. Cooperative methods are prone to be disrupted by malicious nodes reporting false data. This problem is addressed, in the context of cooperative location, in the fifth and last contribution of this thesis. A method based on Least Median Squares (LMS) fitting is proposed in order to detect forged measures and make the location process robust to them. The efficiency and accuracy of the proposed methodologies are demonstrated by means of simulation.
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