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Conference Proceeding Article

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Despite the important role that WiFi networks play in home and enterprise networks they are relatively weak from a security standpoint. With easily available directional antennas, attackers can be physically located off-site, yet compromise WiFi security protocols such as WEP, WPA, and even to some extent WPA2 through a range of exploits specific to those protocols, or simply by running dictionary and human-factors attacks on users' poorly-chosen passwords. This presents a security risk to the entire home or enterprise network. To mitigate this ongoing problem, we propose SecureArray, a system designed to operate alongside existing wireless security protocols, adding defense in depth against active attacks. SecureArray's novel signal processing techniques leverage multi-antenna access point (AP) to profile the directions at which a client's signals arrive, using this angle-of-arrival (AoA) information to construct highly sensitive signatures that with very high probability uniquely identify each client. Upon overhearing a suspicious transmission, the client and AP initiate an AoA signature-based challenge-response protocol to confirm and mitigate the threat. We also discuss how SecureArray can mitigate direct denial-of-service attacks on the latest 802.11 wireless security protocol. We have implemented SecureArray with an eight-antenna WARP hardware radio acting as the AP. Our experimental results show that in a busy office environment, SecureArray is orders of magnitude more accurate than current techniques, mitigating 100% of WiFi spoofing attack attempts while at the same time triggering false alarms on just 0.6% of legitimate traffic. Detection rate remains high when the attacker is located only five centimeters away from the legitimate client, for AP with fewer numbers of antennas and when client is mobile.


security, securearray, AOA signature, antenna array system, wireless, 802.11


Digital Communications and Networking | Software Engineering

Research Areas

Software and Cyber-Physical Systems


MobiCom '13: Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking: Miami, FL, September 30 - October 4, 2013

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City or Country

New York

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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