Physical-layer Security Based Authentication and Key Generation for Seamless IoT Communications

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Electrical Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Advisor: Feng Ye


The Internet-of-Things (IoT) will connect different types of cyber physical systems that are supported by different wireless transmission technologies, e.g., Wi-Fi, ZigBee, etc. However, the security protocols of those wireless technologies cannot be implemented to support seamless and secure IoT communications. Moreover, security protocols need to be light-weighted since some IoT devices have limited computation resources. In this thesis, we propose a light weight physical-layer security based authentication and key generation scheme to bridge different transmission technologies in IoT communications. In the studied scenario, a group certificate is generated based on physical-layer information, i.e., received signal strength (RSS) for all legitimate IoT devices in a network. The group certificate is to support mutual authentication between any pair of IoT devices within the network. Furthermore, the proposed scheme also generates a session key for the authenticated pair of IoT devices for other purposes of security features. The proposed scheme also addresses the issue of access control for new IoT devices with a short-term session key generation process. Security analysis is provided to show the efficacy of the proposed scheme against eavesdropping and replay attacks. A testbed based experiment is conducted to further demonstrate the RSS based value generation and distribution.


Computer Engineering, Physical layer security, Seamless IoT, Authentication, Security parameter generation, Access control

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2019, author