Security and performance comparison of different secure channel protocols for Avionics Wireless Networks

Raja Akram, Konstantinos Markantonakis, Keith Mayes, Pierre-Francois Bonnefoi, Damien Sauveron, Serge Chaumette

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

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The notion of Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) refers to inter-connected pieces of avionics equipment supported by a wired technology, with stringent reliability and safety requirements. If the inter-connecting wires are physically secured so that a malicious user cannot access them directly, then this enforces (at least partially) the security of the network. However, substituting the wired network with a wireless network - which in this context is referred to as an Avionics Wireless Network (AWN) - brings a number of new challenges related to assurance, reliability, and security. The AWN thus has to ensure that it provides at least the required security and safety levels offered by the equivalent wired network. Providing a wired-equivalent security for a communication channel requires the setting up of a strong, secure (encrypted) channel between the entities that are connected to the AWN. In this paper, we propose three approaches to establish such a secure channel based on (i) pre-shared keys, (ii) trusted key distribution, and (iii) key-sharing protocols. For each of these approaches, we present at least two representative protocol variants. These protocols are then implemented as part of a demo AWN and they are then compared based on performance measurements. Most importantly, we have evaluated these protocols based on security and operational requirements that we define in this paper for an AWN.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 IEEE/AIAA 35th Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC)
EditorsAloke Roy, Wolfgang Schuster
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-2523-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-5090-2524-4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2016


  • Digital Avionics
  • Wireless Network
  • Cryptography
  • Secure Channel Protocol
  • Performance
  • Avionics Wireless Network

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