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Physical-Layer Security over Correlated Erasure Channels

  • Harrison, W. K.
  • Almeida, J.
  • McLaughlin, S. W.
  • Barros, J.
Publication Date
Feb 17, 2011
Submission Date
Feb 17, 2011
DOI: 10.1109/ICC.2012.6363737
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We explore the additional security obtained by noise at the physical layer in a wiretap channel model setting. Security enhancements at the physical layer have been proposed recently using a secrecy metric based on the degrees of freedom that an attacker has with respect to the sent ciphertext. Prior work focused on cases in which the wiretap channel could be modeled as statistically independent packet erasure channels for the legitimate receiver and an eavesdropper. In this paper, we go beyond the state-of-the-art by addressing correlated erasure events across the two communication channels. The resulting security enhancement is presented as a function of the correlation coefficient and the erasure probabilities for both channels. It is shown that security improvements are achievable by means of judicious physical-layer design even when the eavesdropper has a better channel than the legitimate receiver. The only case in which this assertion may not hold is when erasures are highly correlated across channels. However, we are able to prove that correlation cannot nullify the expected security enhancement if the channel quality of the legitimate receiver is strictly better than that of the eavesdropper.

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