The wiretap channel with feedback: Encryption over the channel

Lifeng Lai, Hesham El Gamal, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


In this work, the critical role of noisy feedback in enhancing the secrecy capacity of the wiretap channel is established. Unlike previous works, where a noiseless public discussion channel is used for feedback, the feed-forward and feedback signals share the same noisy channel in the present model. Quite interestingly, this noisy feedback model is shown to be more advantageous in the current setting. More specifically, the discrete memoryless modulo-additive channel with a full-duplex destination node is considered first, and it is shown that the judicious use of feedback increases the secrecy capacity to the capacity of the source-destination channel in the absence of the wiretapper. In the achievability scheme, the feedback signal corresponds to a private key, known only to the destination. In the half-duplex scheme, a novel feedback technique that always achieves a positive perfect secrecy rate (even when the source-wiretapper channel is less noisy than the source-destination channel) is proposed. These results hinge on the modulo-additive property of the channel, which is exploited by the destination to perform encryption over the channel without revealing its key to the source. Finally, this scheme is extended to the continuous real valued modulo-Λ channel where it is shown that the secrecy capacity with feedback is also equal to the capacity in the absence of the wiretapper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5059-5067
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Feedback
  • Modulo-additive
  • Noisy
  • Secrecy capacity
  • Wiretap channel


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