Enhancing the security of LTE networks against jamming attacks

Roger Piqueras Jover, Joshua Lackey, Arvind Raghavan
2014 EURASIP Journal on Information Security  
The long-term evolution (LTE) is the newly adopted technology to offer enhanced capacity and coverage for current mobility networks, which experience a constant traffic increase and skyrocketing bandwidth demands. This new cellular communication system, built upon a redesigned physical layer and based on an orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) modulation, features robust performance in challenging multipath environments and substantially improves the performance of the wireless
more » ... channel in terms of bits per second per Hertz (bps/Hz). Nevertheless, as all wireless systems, LTE is vulnerable to radio jamming attacks. Such threats have security implications especially in the case of next-generation emergency response communication systems based on LTE technologies. This proof of concept paper overviews a series of new effective attacks (smart jamming) that extend the range and effectiveness of basic radio jamming. Based on these new threats, a series of new potential security research directions are introduced, aiming to enhance the resiliency of LTE networks against such attacks. A spread-spectrum modulation of the main downlink broadcast channels is combined with a scrambling of the radio resource allocation of the uplink control channels and an advanced system information message encryption scheme. Despite the challenging implementation on commercial networks, which would require inclusion of these solutions in future releases of the LTE standard, the security solutions could strongly enhance the security of LTE-based national emergency response communication systems.
doi:10.1186/1687-417x-2014-7 fatcat:s2tcq7ynhfg7jodn34svu3enca