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New approaches that generate secret keys from radio channel characteristics have been recently proposed. The security of these schemes usually relies on the reciprocity principle which states that the channel fluctuations can be a source of common randomness for two communicating peers and these fluctuations can't be measured by any eavesdropper. A validation of these properties for indoor environments is presented in this work. The shared keys are created by measuring the reciprocal channel features and converting this information to binary vectors using a quantization algorithm. This paper addresses the problem of quantization. It identifies an important weakness of existing key generation algorithms and it shows that the secret bits extraction has a significant impact on the robustness and security of these algorithms. A new adaptive quantization algorithm for secret key generation is presented. This method has the advantages to create sufficient long secret keys with a high key agreement ratio between authorized users without revealing information to the attacker. The new scheme is experimentally validated using Ultra Wide Band technology.
Date of Conference: 20-23 Dec. 2009