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Physical Layer Key Generation for Wireless Communication Security in Automotive Cyber-Physical Systems


Modern automotive Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are increasingly adopting a variety of wireless communications (Radio Frequency and Visible Light) as a promising solution for challenges such as the wire harnessing problem, collision detection and avoidance, traffic control, and environmental hazards. Regrettably, this new trend results in security challenges that can put the safety and privacy of the automotive CPS and passengers at great risk. Further, automotive wireless communication security is constrained by strict energy and performance limitations of electronic controller units and sensors. As a result, the key generation and management for secure automotive wireless communication is an open research challenge.

This thesis aims to help solve these security challenges with a novel key management scheme built upon a physical layer key generation technique that exploits the reciprocity and high spatial and temporal variation properties of the automotive wireless communication channel. A key length optimization algorithm is also developed to help improve performance (in terms of time and energy) for safety-related applications. Channel models, simulations and real-world experiments with vehicles and remote-controlled cars were performed to validate the practicality and effectiveness of the scheme. Lastly, it is shown that generated keys may have high security strength (67\% min-entropy for the Radio Frequency domain and high randomness according to NIST tests for the Visible Light domain) and that code size overhead is 20 times less than state-of-the-art security techniques.

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