Securearray: Improving WiFi security with fine-grained physical-layer information

Jie Xiong, Kyle Jamieson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

100 Scopus citations


Despite the important role that WiFi networks play in home and enterprise networks they are relatively weak from a security standpoint. With easily available directional antennas, attackers can be physically located off-site, yet compromise WiFi security protocols such as WEP, WPA, and even to some extent WPA2 through a range of exploits specific to those protocols, or simply by running dictionary and human-factors attacks on users' poorly-chosen passwords. This presents a security risk to the entire home or enterprise network. To mitigate this ongoing problem, we propose SecureArray, a system designed to operate alongside existing wireless security protocols, adding defense in depth against active attacks. SecureArray's novel signal processing techniques leverage multi-antenna access point (AP) to profile the directions at which a client's signals arrive, using this angle-of-arrival (AoA) information to construct highly sensitive signatures that with very high probability uniquely identify each client. Upon overhearing a suspicious transmission, the client and AP initiate an AoA signature-based challenge-response protocol to confirm and mitigate the threat. We also discuss how SecureArray can mitigate direct denial-of-service attacks on the latest 802.11 wireless security protocol. We have implemented SecureArray with an eight-antenna WARP hardware radio acting as the AP. Our experimental results show that in a busy office environment, SecureArray is orders of magnitude more accurate than current techniques, mitigating 100% of WiFi spoofing attack attempts while at the same time triggering false alarms on just 0.6% of legitimate traffic. Detection rate remains high when the attacker is located only five centimeters away from the legitimate client, for AP with fewer numbers of antennas and when client is mobile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobiCom 2013 - Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2013 - Miami, FL, United States
Duration: Sep 30 2013Oct 4 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM


Other19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMiami, FL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • 802.11
  • Antenna array system
  • Aoa signature
  • Secureangle
  • Securearray
  • Security
  • Wireless


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