Secret-Focus: A Practical Physical Layer Secret Communication System By Perturbing Focused Phases In Distributed Beamforming

Xiaoran Fan Rutgers University, USA
Zhijie Zhang Rutgers University, USA
Wade Trappe WINLAB, Rutgers University, USA
Yanyong Zhang Rutgers University, USA
Richard Howard Rutgers University, USA
Zhu Han University of Houston, USA


Ensuring confidentiality of communication is fundamental to securing the operation of a wireless system, where eavesdropping is easily facilitated by the broadcast nature of the wireless medium. By applying distributed beamforming among a coalition, we show that a new approach for assuring physical layer secrecy, without requiring any knowledge about the eaves-dropper or injecting any additional cover noise, is possible if the transmitters frequently perturb their phases around the proper alignment phase while transmitting messages. This approach is readily applied to amplitude-based modulation schemes, such as PAM or QAM. We present our secrecy mechanisms, prove several important secrecy properties, and develop a practical secret communication system design. We further implement and deploy a prototype that consists of 16 distributed transmitters using USRP N210s in a 20 × 20 × 3 m 3 area. By sending more than 160M bits over our system to the receiver, depending on system parameter settings, we measure that the eavesdroppers failed to decode 30% − 60% of the bits cross multiple locations while the intended receiver has an estimated bit error ratio of 3 × 10 −6 .

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