SLOW: A Practical pseudonym changing scheme for location privacy in VANETs

Levente Buttyan, Tamas Holczer, Andre Weimerskirch, William Whyte
2009 2009 IEEE Vehicular Networking Conference (VNC)  
Untraceability of vehicles is an important requirement in future vehicle communications systems. Unfortunately, heartbeat messages used by many safety applications provide a constant stream of location data, and without any protection measures, they make tracking of vehicles easy even for a passive eavesdropper. One commonly known solution is to transmit heartbeats under pseudonyms that are changed regularly in order to obfuscate the trajectory of vehicles. However, this approach is effective
more » ... ly if some silent period is kept during the pseudonym change and several vehicles change their pseudonyms nearly at the same time and at the same location. Unlike previous works that proposed explicit synchronization between a group of vehicles and/or required pseudonym change in a designated physical area (i.e., a static mix zone), we propose a much simpler approach that does not need any explicit cooperation between vehicles and any infrastructure support. Our basic idea is that vehicles should not transmit heartbeat messages when their speed drops below a given threshold, say 30 km/h, and they should change pseudonym during each such silent period. This ensures that vehicles stopping at traffic lights or moving slowly in a traffic jam will all refrain from transmitting heartbeats and change their pseudonyms nearly at the same time and location. Thus, our scheme ensures both silent periods and synchronized pseudonym change in time and space, but it does so in an implicit way. We also argue that the risk of a fatal accident at a slow speed is low, and therefore, our scheme does not seriously impact safety-of-life. In addition, refraining from sending heartbeat messages when moving at low speed also relieves vehicles of the burden of verifying a potentially large amount of digital signatures, and thus, makes it possible to implement vehicle communications with less expensive equipments.
doi:10.1109/vnc.2009.5416380 dblp:conf/vnc/ButtyanHWW09 fatcat:taymm37fqzb5vomxvi4dunevfy