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An Efficient Cross-Layer Authentication Scheme for Secure Communication in Vehicular Ad-hoc Networks

Shawky, Mahmoud A.; Bottarelli, Mirko; Epiphaniou, Gregory; Karadimas, Petros


Mahmoud A. Shawky

Mirko Bottarelli

Gregory Epiphaniou


Intelligent transportation systems contribute to improved traffic safety by facilitating real-time communication between vehicles and infrastructures. In this context, message authentication is crucial to safeguard vehicular ad-hoc networks (VANETs) from malicious attacks. The current state-of-the-art for authentication in VANETs relies on conventional cryptographic primitives, introducing significant computation and communication overheads. This paper presents a cross-layer authentication scheme for vehicular communication, incorporating the short-term reciprocal features of the wireless channel for re-authenticating the corresponding terminal, reducing the overall complexity and computation and communication overheads. The proposed scheme comprises four steps: S1. Upper-layer authentication is used to determine the legitimacy of the corresponding terminal at the first time slot; S2. Upon the verification result, a location-dependent shared key with a minimum number of mismatched bits is extracted between both terminals; S3. Using the extracted key and under binary hypothesis testing, a PHY challenge-response algorithm for multicarrier communication is proposed for re-authentication; S4. In the case of false detection, the key extraction step (S2) is re-executed after adapting the quantisation levels at different conditions of channel non-reciprocity based on the feedback from the re-authentication step (S3). Simulation results show the effectiveness of the proposed scheme even at small signal-to-noise ratios. In addition, the immunity of the proposed scheme is proved against active and passive attacks, including signatures' unforgeability against adaptive chosen message attacks in the random oracle model. Finally, a comprehensive comparison in terms of computation and communication overheads demonstrates the superiority of the proposed scheme over its best rivals.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 10, 2023
Publication Date 2023-07
Deposit Date Mar 1, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 2, 2023
Print ISSN 0018-9545
Electronic ISSN 1939-9359
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 72
Issue 7
Pages 8738 - 8754
Keywords Cross-layer authentication, PHY-layer re-authentication, Privacy-preserving, Pseudo-identity, VANETs


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