CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
- TWC:Medium:SDR Shield: A Hardware-based Security Solution for Software Defined Radio
- CAREER: Study of Coexistence Restrictions of Cross-layer Designs in Wireless Networks
- Cross-domain Design Tools for Sensor Network and Architecture
- An Open Architecture for the Evolutionary Design of Routing Protocols
- Study of the Fundamental Compatibility Space of Wireless Routing Metrics
- Proactive Cross-Layer Adversary Localization for Hostile or Harsh Wireless Environments
- Autonomous Secure Communications
Co-PI: Amy Bell
Modern data networks are complex distributed systems that promise to provide military and civilian users with network connectivity at any location and any time. However, without a robust and secure communication framework, the full potential of communication technology will not be fully realized. This is because the communication environments of data networks can vary dramatically due to changes in node mobility, radio interference, traffic pattern, and energy constraint. In addition, data networks are increasingly becoming the target of malicious attacks. A communication system that lacks robustness and security may crash miserably in these demanding operating environments. Hence, to fully realize the potential of data networks, the ASC team is building an autonomous and secure communication system that dynamically evolves the architecture design of a network according to its environment so that the survivability, availability, manageability, capacity, integrity, and confidentiality of the communication system can stay at its optimal level.
The ASC team seeks to completely change the current ad hoc and manual ways of network engineering and bring the entire network design field into the new era of automatic system design and adaptation. This evolutionary change will greatly accelerate the advances of communication technologies.
Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology has the flexibility of implementing a large part of physical layer functions in software. It is one of the major technologies that will provide broadband services to millions of US residences. However, unlike conventional radio whose RF signals are tightly regulated by FCC-certified hardware, the software components of SDR can be easily exploited by hackers to create a wide range of unauthorized waveforms to launch attacks on many security-critical wireless systems. The existing preventive software-based security counter measures are not possible to prevent the myriad of potential software security loopholes and themselves often become targets of the malware. The objective of this project is to design an effective hardware-based SDR integrity assessment and behavior regulation device named SDR Shield. SDR Shield resides between the vulnerable SDR software and the security-critical SDR hardware to detect any malicious configuration of the RF device and prevent it from being used to attack wireless systems. The SDR Shield uses side channel and communication channel information from different SDR components to detect deviations from expected execution status. SDR shield also includes a regulation circuit to enforce safety-critical properties of SDR operation. A secure update process is developed to maintain SDR shield’s flexibility and its own security. The generality of SDR Shield’s design provides a unified security mechanism for SDR design and hence can ease the burden on FCC or any future SDR design verification institutes in certifying security measures of SDR products.
Of late, there has been an explosive growth of cross-layer designs proposed for wireless networks. These designs break the layered structure to actively exploit the dependence between protocol layers in wireless networks. However, the large number of cross-layer designs creates serious coexistence issues. The violation of layered structure may not comply with restrictions that constrain the coexistence among many cross-layer designs and other network systems, causing significant issues, such as degraded performance, inconsistent distributed decision making, network partition, and instability. The objective of this project is to systematically and rigorously categorize and analyze coexistence restrictions of cross-layer designs in wireless networks. In this project, coexistence restrictions of various cross-layer designs are theoretically modeled and analyzed. Different kinds of coexistence restrictions are defined, the conditions for their occurrences and their impact on network operations are revealed, and methods to check coexistence issues are developed. The project also seeks restriction-compliant protocol design techniques. This project serves as a major effort in the understandings of cross-layer designs in wireless networks and is the pioneer in providing systematic analysis of coexistence restrictions of cross-layer designs. The result of this project can be used to evaluate cross-layer designs’ limitations and potential problems. This will promote the acceptance of good cross-layer designs in real systems and prevent architecture failures in design integration. In addition, this project provides practical techniques for designing more compatible cross-layer systems. Ultimately, this will greatly enhance the flexibility and robustness of current and future wireless network systems.
Co-PI: Patrick Schaumont
This project will develop a novel tool, named Sunshine, to effectively support joint evaluation and design of sensor network (sensornet) hardware and software. A critical roadblock to the success of sensornets is the prohibitively slow and energy-wise impractical software implementations of many important applications. On the other hand, specialized hardware implementation can outperform, energy-wise as well as performance-wise, equivalent software implementations by orders of magnitude. Hence, the joint software-and-hardware design of sensornet applications is a very appealing, yet unexplored, approach. The objective of this project is to develop an effective tool, named Sunshine, to support such codesign. This project may fundamentally transform the relationship between the hardware and software communities of sensornet research. These communities can use Sunshine to efficiently exchange mutual requirements and spread the latest technology advances in each other's fields. Such evolutionary change will greatly improve the state-of-the-art in sensornet technology. Novel hardware architecture and platforms that are unexplored in current designs can be created and tested through Sunshine's cross-domain design environment.
Duration: 8/2009 - 7/2010
Co-PI: Michael Hsiao, Luiz Da Silva
The objective of this project is to bring a revolutionary change to the design process of routing systems by building a highly flexible architecture for the automatic assembling and testing of a great variety of routing designs. Instead of focusing on a particular suite of routing protocols as existing research efforts, this architecuture, called Orchestra, introduces evolutionary design into the routing area. It accepts various designs of routing components and automatically assemble them into workable routing protocols. Based on the performance of the assembled protocols, Orchestra switches and tunes designs of routing components to eventually identify the best design for a network setting.
Co-PI: Thomas Hou
The current rich collection of wireless routing designs brings significant compatibility issues between different design choices. A combination of arbitrary designs of routing components with a routing metric may result in catastrophe on a network's normal operation, such as routing loops, inconsistent routing decisions, suboptimal paths and routing instability. Previous works for modeling routing metric designs focused on several IP routing protocols deployed for the Internet. There remains a serious lack of understanding of the compatibility issue for wireless networks. The objective of this project is to address this challenging issue by systematically studying the fundamental compatibility space of routing metrics for different wireless routing designs. The proposed project will move the traditional simple linear wireless routing metric design into the new era of non-linear design and provide in-depth analysis of potential incompatibility issues. The routing theory developed in this proposed project is a major step in the understanding of interoperability and compatibility between wireless routing protocols. In addition, the theory of compatible routing designs also brings insights for developing flexible wireless routing architecture so that designs that potentially may put too many restrictions on the development of routing metrics can be avoided. The proposed research will foster the integration of research and education by expanding the existing curriculum with the new results from this project. The outreach component of the project includes disseminate research results and pedagogical materials via education and industry outreach programs.
Co-PI: Michael Buehrer, Jung-min Park
The objective of this research is to develop a localization system capable of localizing an adversary that is actively trying to disguise its location in a wireless network by distorting its signal features. The approach is a proactive, cross-layer localization design that incorporates attack traceback, cross-layer traffic manipulation, and physical layer position estimation. The attack traceback aspect focuses on narrowing down an adversary’s location to the coverage area of a couple of access points. The traffic manipulation aspect will develop trapping techniques to force or lure the adversary to exhibit their true location-related signal features. Leverage these true location-related signal features, the physical layer position estimation aspect will develop proactive and robust localization techniques to accurately position the adversary.
The proposed project establishes accountability in wireless networks and serves as an invaluable tool for attack deterrent. It is the first to address many technical challenges in localization and traceback. This project can also enhance the security of systems where location information is used to restrict access to critical resources. Furthermore, the proposed research results can be used to improve the accuracy of localization systems in harsh communication environments that severely distort the characteristics of emitted signals from legitimate users.