Analysis of impersonation attacks on systems using RF fingerprinting and low-end receivers

Saeed Ur Rehman, Kevin W Sowerby, Colin Coghill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, physical layer security commonly known as Radio Frequency (RF) fingerprinting has been proposed to provide an additional layer of security for wireless devices. A unique RF fingerprint can be used to establish the identity of a specific wireless device in order to prevent masquerading/impersonation attacks. In the literature, the performance of RF fingerprinting techniques is typically assessed using high-end (expensive) receiver hardware. However, in most practical situations receivers will not be high-end and will suffer from device specific impairments which affect the RF fingerprinting process. This paper evaluates the accuracy of RF fingerprinting employing low-end receivers. The vulnerability to an impersonation attack is assessed for a modulation-based RF fingerprinting system employing low-end commodity hardware (by legitimate and malicious users alike). Our results suggest that receiver impairment effectively decreases the success rate of impersonation attack on RF fingerprinting. In addition, the success rate of impersonation attack is receiver dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-601
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Computer and System Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date4 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Radio Fingerprinting
  • Impersonation attack
  • Physical Layer Security
  • Hardware security
  • Physical layer security
  • Radio fingerprinting


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