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The problem of securing a network coding communication system against an eavesdropper is considered. The network implements linear network coding to deliver n packets from source to each receiver, and the adversary can eavesdrop on μ arbitrarily chosen links. The objective is to provide reliable communication to all receivers, while guaranteeing that the source information remains information-theoretically secure from the adversary. A coding scheme is proposed that can achieve the maximum possible rate of n - μ packets. The scheme, which is based on rank-metric codes, has the distinctive property of being universal: it can be applied on top of any communication network without requiring knowledge of or any modifications on the underlying linear network code. The only requirement of the scheme is that the packet length be at least n, which is shown to be strictly necessary for universal communication at the maximum rate. A further scenario is considered where the adversary is allowed not only to eavesdrop but also to inject up to t erroneous packets into the network, and the network may suffer from a rank deficiency of at most ρ. In this case, the proposed scheme can be extended to achieve the rate of n - ρ - 2t - μ packets. This rate is shown to be optimal under the assumption of zero-error communication.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011