iJam: Jamming Oneself for Secure Wireless Communication

Unknown author (2010-06-07)

Wireless is inherently less secure than wired networks because of its broadcast nature. Attacks that simply snoop on the wireless medium successfully defeat the security of even 802.11 networks using the most recent security standards (WPA2-PSK). In this paper we ask the following question: Can we prevent this kind of eavesdropping from happening? If so, we can potentially defeat the entire class of attacks that rely on snooping. This paper presents iJam, a PHY-layer protocol for OFDM-based wireless systems. iJam ensures that an eavesdropper cannot successfully demodulate a wireless signal not intended for it. To achieve this iJam strategically introduces interference that prevents an eavesdropper from decoding the data, while allowing the intended receiver to decode it. iJam exploits the properties of 802.11â s OFDM signals to ensure that an eavesdropper cannot even tell which parts of the signal are jammed. We implement iJam and evaluate it in a testbed of GNURadios with an 802.11-like physical layer. We show that iJam makes the data bits at the adversary look random, i.e., the BER becomes close to 50%, whereas the receiver can perfectly decode the data.