Exploiting interference for physical layer security in 5G networks [CI-PHY] (EPSRC-FNR)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Abstract

Security and privacy have become a paramount concern in modern ICT, as threats from cybercrime are soaring. This year's global economic crime survey conducted by PwC reported that cybercrime has jumped from 4th to 2nd place among the most-reported types of economic crime. The severity of threat on the business, financial, infrastructure and other UK sectors makes all facets of security and risk management pertinent, and their importance cannot be overstated. Physical layer security (PS) provides an extra layer of security on top of the traditional cryptographic measures. It obstructs access to the wireless traffic itself, thus averting any higher layer attack. Encompassing a number of key technologies spanning secure beamforming, artificial noise design, network coding, cooperative jamming, graph theory, and directional modulation, PS is now commonly accepted as one of the most effective forms of security. While appealing as a theoretical concept, PS still faces a number of critical challenges that prevent it from wide commercial adoption in 5G and beyond, involving the lack of secure 5G signalling, the provision of eavesdroppers' information, and the applicability of existing theoretical techniques in real environments and under low-specification hardware.

CI-PHY addresses the abovementioned challenges, and promotes a paradigm shift on security by exploiting interference. In particular, CI-PHY exploits constructive interference for Physical Layer Security by:

- Specifically tailored fundamental waveform design to exploit interference, that provides a low complexity solution with limited hardware requirements;
- Artificial noise and jamming to actively improve the desired receivers' SNR under secrecy constraints, and further improve secrecy by designing the artificial noise to align destructively to the signal at the eavesdropper;
- Robust approaches for real implementation by taking hardware impairments into account to reduce the hardware requirements for providing secrecy with resource-constrained devices;
- Real implementation and over-the-air testing of security solutions to evaluate and optimise performance in commercially relevant environments.

CI-PHY will be performed with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust in University of Luxembourg, and industrial partners QinetiQ, BT, National Instruments and Huawei, and aspires to kick-start an innovative ecosystem for high-impact players among the infrastructure and service providers of ICT to develop and commercialize a new generation of secure and power-efficient communication networks, and address the unprecedented vulnerability of emerging ICT services to cyber threats.

Planned Impact

The explosive growth of industrial control processes and the industrial IoT, imposes unprecedented vulnerability to cyber threats in critical infrastructure through the interconnected systems. Presently, the focus is on PHY security as a first and robust layer of security towards improving the reliability of wireless networks for critical applications. The severity of threat on the business, financial, infrastructure and other UK sectors makes all facets of security and risk management pertinent, and their importance cannot be overstated.

Commercial and societal impact: Firstly, by exploitation of interference, an inherent source of security in wireless networks, CI-PHY will deliver the network security in a power efficient manner. CI-PHY aims at a 100x improvement of security over power consumption, through a multi-fold reduction in the transmit power consumption with a simultaneous increase in security metrics by means of interference exploitation. These are key 5G PPP targets. Secondly, by focusing on practical implementation and hardware imperfections, along with proof-of-concept testing, CI-PHY will ensure the promised security targets are brought to practice.

The power- and hardware- efficient designs of CI-PHY will drive the reduction of CO2 emissions associated with the ICT industry to alleviate the relevant environmental repercussions. By reducing the operational expenditure (OPEX) related to power, and consequently the cost-per-Mbyte, CI-PHY will boost the diminishing profits for the ICT industry and re-define the operators' business models. Most importantly, it will help ensure the security, reliability and robustness of wireless networks, which are now integral to key business, financial, and other infrastructure and will impact the associated critical infrastructure, healthcare, security and industrial applications. Overall CI-PHY aligns with the EPSRC portfolio of research in the themes of ICT, Digital Economy, and Energy and, particularly with the Global Uncertainties subtheme on Cybersecurity, and will contribute to the economic competitiveness of the UK and enhance quality of life.

Academic impact: The vast impact of the work in the broader research communities, detailed in the Academic Beneficiaries section, will boost the profile of the Communications groups in UCL and UL and enhance the UK research impact in these areas by citation of the proposed work and international exposure. The creation of new knowledge in the above fields within CI-PHY, and the inclusion of this in the educational curricula will further establish the UK as a world leader in technological and applied state-of-the-art knowledge transfer. Apart from the theoretical modelling that will set the benchmarks for the system performance, the practical work on implementing PHY security with low-spec RF chains will attract commercial interest, stimulate industrial research and encourage joint academic-industrial collaboration on the field. This will further augment the research income UCL and UL through follow-on research projects and industrial consultancy. The adoption of the proposed techniques by global communication standards will further establish the UK as a leader in communication standardization. The protection of the created intellectual property and the commercialization of the hybrid signal processing solutions will improve the penetration of the UK sector in the multibillion ICT industry.

New experts: The research training within the project, involving visits for hands-on training to our industrial partners Huawei and National Instruments will develop the research profile, expertise and man power of the world class research groups in UCL and UL and establish an inter-institutional team with excellence in PHY security, by producing new experts in the field of secure beamforming and jamming, energy-efficient transmission, hybrid analogue-digital transmission and wireless communications in general.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A number of techniques that exploit interference to provide secrecy in wireless communications.
Exploitation Route The proposed solutions will create profound opportunities for many important UK sectors to impact society and people, such as telecom equipment manufacturers (Huawei, Toshiba, Samsung), and telecom operators (e.g., Telecom Italia, BT, Vodafone UK). Consequently, the results of the project will lead to new jobs and know-how, thereby creating wealth and better services for the UK population, once fully commercially exploited.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics

 
Description The project has led to a hardware demonstrator on constructive interference exploitation. the demonstrator was showcased in the expo booth of National Instruments in Globecom 2018 and attracted very strong interest.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics
Impact Types Societal

 
Description (PAINLESS) - energy-autonomous Portable Access points for INfrastructure-LESS networks
Amount € 4,167,588 (EUR)
Funding ID 812991 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2022
 
Description CI with few-bit DACs 
Organisation University of California, Irvine
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution extension of the CI-PHY results to few-bit ADC transmission
Collaborator Contribution extension of the CI-PHY results to few-bit ADC transmission
Impact A. Li and C. Masouros, F. Liu, L. Swindlehurst, "Massive MIMO 1-Bit DAC Transmission: A Low-Complexity Symbol Scaling Approach", IEEE Trans. Wireless Comms., vol. 17, no. 11, pp. 7559-7575, Nov. 2018, DOI: 10.1109/TWC.2018.2868369
Start Year 2018
 
Description HP on CI 
Organisation Technical University of Darmstadt
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution extension of the CI-PHY results to hybrid precoding schemes
Collaborator Contribution extension of the CI-PHY results to hybrid precoding schemes
Impact G. Hegde, C. Masouros, M. Pesavento, "Interference Exploitation-based Hybrid Precoding with Robustness Against Phase Errors", IEEE Trans. Wireless Comms., vol. 18, no. 7, pp. 3683-3696, July 2019., DOI: 10.1109/TWC.2019.2917064 G. Hegde, C. Masouros, M. Pesavento, "Coordinated Hybrid Precoding for Interference Exploitation in Heterogeneous Networks", IEEE Comms Letters, vol. 23, no. 11, pp. 2109-2113, Nov. 2019, DOI: 10.1109/LCOMM.2019.2933840
Start Year 2018
 
Description Huawei MU-MIMO-CI 
Organisation Huawei Technologies
Country China 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Extension of the results of the CI-PHY project to links with multi-antenna users
Collaborator Contribution Extension of the results of the CI-PHY project to links with multi-antenna users
Impact undisclosed
Start Year 2019
 
Description Rate Splitting with CI 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution extension of CI-PHY results to rate splitting
Collaborator Contribution extension of CI-PHY results to rate splitting
Impact none yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description international workshop on CI 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact International workshop on interference exploitation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://2020.ieeeicassp.org/program/special-sessions/