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Title: Secure Distance Bounding
Author: Zheng, Xifan
Advisor: Safavi-Naini, Rei
Keywords: Computer Science
Issue Date: 3-Feb-2015
Abstract: Location (or distance) information of a device plays a significant role in current location-based systems. How to determine the location of a device or verify the location claims made by a device is challenging, as devices are untrusted and may have an incentive to claim a false location. In secure localization and positioning system, the trusted verifier(s) interact with the untrusted prover to determine its location or validate its location claim. In this thesis, we mainly focus on one of the prominent areas of such systems: distance bounding. Distance (upper) bounding (DUB) allows a verifier to verify whether a proving party is located within a certain distance bound. DUB protocols have many applications in secure authentication and location-based services. This thesis has two main contributions. The first is that we consider the dual problem of distance lower bounding (DLB), where the prover proves it is outside a distance bound from the verifier. We motivate this problem through a number of application scenarios and model security against distance fraud (DF), Man-in-the-Middle (MiM), and collusion fraud (CF) attacks. We prove impossibility of security against these attacks without making physical assumptions. We propose approaches to the construction of secure protocols under reasonable physical assumptions and give detailed design of a DLB protocol with security analysis using our proposed model. This is the first treatment of the DLB problem in the untrusted prover setting with a number of applications, raising new research directions and opportunities in location based services. We discuss our results and propose directions for future research. One of the main assumptions which DUB protocols rely on is that the time that the prover spends in receiving the challenge, processing, and sending the response is negligible compared to the propagation time of the signal between the prover and verifier. This strict requirement poses difficulties on the implementation of DUB protocols and limits the possible development of applications for distance bounding as well. The second contribution in this thesis is that we design a novel one-round DUB protocol that uses one-way transmission time to estimate the distance instead of round-trip time, so that the assumption of negligible processing time is not required any longer. In order to prove the security, we formalize the notion of time in a distributed environment with adversarial users. In this model, time is implemented by a trusted party broadcasting unpredictable timestamps at a high frequency. We show that the timestamp is proved to be fresh and unpredictable. We then extend the time model to formalize DUB protocols and define corresponding attacks. Finally, we prove the security of our proposed distance bounding protocol and discuss potential issues when implementing such protocol. Besides these two main contributions, we also have the following two contributions: (1) we identify and analyze a new attack: false rejection attack, which poses serious threat to proximity-based authentications that uses distance bounding protocol for proximity evaluation; (2) We investigate the feasibility of replay attack in context-based proximity authentication using real-world data.
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