Covert Communications in a Dynamic Interference Environment

Dennis Goeckel, Azadeh Sheikholeslami, Tamara Sobers, Boulat A. Bash, Oon Towsley, Saikat Guha

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

Abstract

Much of security research focuses on preventing an adversary from deciphering a message's content, but there are a number of applications that motivate the more challenging goal of 'covert' communications: transmitter Alice conveying information to legitimate receiver Bob while preventing a capable and attentive adversary Willie from detecting the presence of the message. Willie detects Alice's transmission by looking for deviations from the background environment; hence, covert throughput can be increased if Willie has uncertainty about that background environment, as might be caused by user mobility or time-varying jamming. Here, we consider how the dynamics of the background environment impact the throughput of covert communications. Our previous work has shown that a background environment varying a constant number of times per codeword duration can greatly increase the covert throughput. In this paper, we consider the covert throughput for all potential rates of variation of the background. Neither extreme of variation is favorable to Alice: (1) when the background environment varies too quickly relative to the codeword length, Willie can average out the variation and hence limit Alice's covert throughput; (2) when the background environment varies too slowly, Willie can estimate the current environment and again limit Alice's covert throughput. We analyze a detector at Willie that provides an upper bound (converse) to the covert throughput of Alice for all potential rates of variation. Next, we provide an explicit construction for a scheme for Alice that provides a lower bound (achievability) on the covert throughput at each rate of variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2018 IEEE 19th International Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications, SPAWC 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781538635124
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 24 2018
Event19th IEEE International Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications, SPAWC 2018 - Kalamata, Greece
Duration: Jun 25 2018Jun 28 2018

Publication series

NameIEEE Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications, SPAWC
Volume2018-June

Conference

Conference19th IEEE International Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications, SPAWC 2018
CountryGreece
CityKalamata
Period6/25/186/28/18

Keywords

  • Covert communications
  • decision theory
  • wireless system security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems

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  • Cite this

    Goeckel, D., Sheikholeslami, A., Sobers, T., Bash, B. A., Towsley, O., & Guha, S. (2018). Covert Communications in a Dynamic Interference Environment. In 2018 IEEE 19th International Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications, SPAWC 2018 [8445896] (IEEE Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications, SPAWC; Vol. 2018-June). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/SPAWC.2018.8445896