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Channel Identification: Secret Sharing Using Reciprocity in Ultrawideband Channels

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3 Author(s)
Robert Wilson ; Sequoia Commun., San Diego, CA ; David Tse ; Robert A. Scholtz

To establish a secure communications link between any two transceivers, the communicating parties require some shared secret, or key, with which to encrypt the message so that it cannot be understood by an enemy observer. Using the theory of reciprocity for antennas and electromagnetic propagation, a key distribution method is proposed that uses the ultrawideband (UWB) channel pulse response between two transceivers as a source of common randomness that is not available to enemy observers in other locations. The maximum size of a key that can be shared in this way is characterized by the mutual information between the observations of two radios, and an approximation and upper bound on mutual information is found for a general multipath channel and examples given for UWB channel models. The exchange of some information between the parties is necessary to achieve these bounds, and various information-sharing strategies are considered and their performance is simulated. A qualitative assessment of the vulnerability of such a secret sharing system to attack from a radio in a nearby location is also given.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 3 )