Control Channel Vulnerability Analysis of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 802.16m-2011 and 802.16- 2009 Standards
Tang, Chee Meng
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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.16 set of standards, known as Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), is a family of standards widely deployed for wireless network access. Though WiMAX security vulnerabilities have been extensively analyzed, the IEEE 802.16m-2011 standard incorporates the new advanced air interface (AAI), which is substantially different from legacy standards and justifies reexamination on a clean slate. In this research, the vulnerabilities of IEEE 802.16m-2011 control channels are examined at the medium-access (MAC) and the physical (PHY) layers with proposed attack vectors. Methodologies are proposed to overcome challenges in terms of the timing and power associated with manipulating control channels. Attacks that manipulate the transmission power of mobile stations are examined in detail, while other attacks on IEEE 802.16m-2011, including multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) disruption, network-entry disruption, and water-torture are also discussed. Out of fifteen vulnerabilities presented, thirteen were not previously identified for IEEE 802.16m-2011. Existing and new proposed vulnerabilities within legacy standards (specifically IEEE 802.16-2009) are also discussed, including transmission power manipulation, entry procedure attacks, water-torture attacks, and automatic repeat request attacks. Twelve of eighteen vulnerabilities presented were not previously discussed.
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