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Information-Theoretic Security in Wireless Networks: From Theory to Practice

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Recent theoretical and practical work has shown that novel physical-layer based security techniques have the potential to significantly strengthen the security of wireless networks. This talk will cover the basic ideas behind information theoretic security. In the classical setting, two parties, say Alice and Bob, communicate with one another over a noisy channel. However, another party – Eve – is also capable of eavesdropping Alice’s transmissions. We will characterize the rate-equivocation region as well as the secrecy capacity in the conventional Gaussian channel scenario. We will also characterize similar quantities (outage probabilities and outage secrecy capacities) in the wireless channel case. It will be shown that, in sharp contrast to the situation in the classical Gaussian wiretap channel, in fading channels information theoretic security is achievable even when the eavesdropper enjoys a better average signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) than the legitimate receiver.

This talk will also introduce a novel practical physical-layer based security scheme for wireless networks, where two terminals (Alice and Bob) exploit the randomness of wireless fading channels to exchange data in an information-theoretically secure way. In particular, Alice sends useful symbols to Bob only when the instantaneous secrecy capacity is strictly positive. In the remaining time, a specially designed class of LDPC codes is used for reconciliation, thus allowing the extraction of a secret key, which can be distilled using privacy amplification. We believe this opportunistic approach can be used effectively as a physical-layer complement to existing cryptographic protocols.

This work represents a joint collaboration with Joao Barros (University of Porto, Portugal), Matthieu Bloch and Steve McLaughlin (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA ).

Short Bio: Miguel Rodrigues was born in Porto, Portugal on May 30, 1975. He received the Licenciatura degree in electrical engineering from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Portugal in 1998 and the Ph.D. degree in electronic and electrical engineering from University College London, U.K. in 2002.

He is currently a Senior Research Associate with the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, U.K. He is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow with the Dept. of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London, U.K. His research interests include information theory, communications theory and signal processing. He has over 40 publications in international journals and conference proceedings in these areas.

Dr. Rodrigues has been the recipient of doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, the Prize Engenheiro Ant?nio de Almeida, the Prize Engenheiro Cristiano Spratley, and the Merit Scholarship from the University of Porto, Portugal, and of the best student poster award at the Second IMA International Conference on Mathematics in Communications.

This talk is part of the Inference Group series.

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