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With abundant aggregate network bandwidth, continuous data streams are commonly used in scientific and commercial applications. Correspondingly, there is an increasing demand of authenticating these data streams. Existing strategies explore data stream authentication by using message authentication codes (MACs) on a certain number of data packets (a data block) to generate a message digest, then either embedding the digest into the original data, or sending the digest out-of-band to the receiver. Embedding approaches inevitably change the original data, which is not acceptable under some circumstances (e.g., when sensitive information is included in the data). Sending the digest out-of-band incurs additional communication overhead, which consumes more critical resources (e.g., power in wireless devices for receiving information) besides network bandwidth. In this paper, we propose a novel strategy, DaTA, which effectively authenticates data streams by selectively adjusting some interpacket delay. This authentication scheme requires no change to the original data and no additional communication overhead. Modeling-based analysis and experiments conducted on an implemented prototype system in an LAN and over the Internet show that our proposed scheme is efficient and practical.
Date of Publication: July 2010