Physical layer attacks on unlinkability in wireless LANs

Kevin Bauer, Damon McCoy, Ben Greenstein, Dirk Grunwald, Douglas Sicker

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Recent work has focused on hiding explicit network identifiers such as hardware addresses from the link layer to enable anonymous communications in wireless LANs. These protocols encrypt entire wireless packets, thereby providing unlinkability. However, we find that these protocols neglect to hide identifying information that is preserved within the wireless physical layer. We propose a technique using commodity wireless hardware whereby packets can be linked to their respective transmitters using signal strength information, thus degrading users' anonymity. We discuss possible countermeasures, but ultimately we argue that controlling information leakage at the physical layer is inherently difficult.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationPrivacy Enhancing Technologies - 9th International Symposium, PETS 2009, Proceedings
    Number of pages20
    StatePublished - 2009
    Event9th International Symposium on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, PETS 2009 - Seattle, WA, United States
    Duration: Aug 5 2009Aug 7 2009

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
    Volume5672 LNCS
    ISSN (Print)0302-9743
    ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


    Other9th International Symposium on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, PETS 2009
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySeattle, WA

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Theoretical Computer Science
    • General Computer Science


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