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Access points (APs) in wireless mesh networks (WMNs) are particularly vulnerable to attack and exploitation. Such actions may include passive eavesdropping and packet capture, spoofing trusted identities to gain unauthorized access to the network, injecting malicious code, or denial of service (DoS) attacks. During physical-layer noise jamming DoS attacks, an attacker constantly broadcasts noise on the same radio frequency used by the WMN in an attempt to overpower the friendly signal, degrading or denying use of the channels. Powerful commercial and military jamming systems are readily available, but this type of attack can be conducted with inexpensive equipment and little technological prowess and can be very challenging to defend against. Even unintentional interference can be as harmful as an intentional attack.
To thwart such jamming, Navy scientists have developed a computer-implemented system for designing robust WMNs. Unlike previous efforts focused on static or random jamming, the new system considers WMN network design in the presence of an intelligent adversary who observes the network and then places jammer(s) to maximally disrupt network performance. In this way, the system provides network designs which maximize robustness to the worst possible jamming attack.
The software employs a nested analysis by selecting an initial set of AP locations, then iteratively analyzing selected jammer locations against the initial set using the physical characteristics of the geographic area (signal propagation), selected technical specifications of the WMN, and quantification of an objective function which includes the variables of coverage area and network traffic flow. The computer runs this set of virtual APs against a virtual set of the most disruptive jammer locations, relocates the APs and runs the simulation again until an optimal solution (location of APs) is achieved. The final set of AP locations creates a WMN that is the most robust to the worst possible jamming attack identified. Such an attack could represent the actions of a rational human opponent, or the worst-case positioning of unintentional interference sources such as civilian radios, other radio frequency (RF) devices, or high-voltage electrical devices.
- System considers network design in the presence of a simulated intelligent adversary capable of observing the WMN and placing jammers to maximally disrupt coverage
- US patent 9,788,213 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy researchers