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Security in Wireless Networks

The purpose of this course is to familiarise participants with threats, vulnerabilities, and security countermeasures of existing and upcoming wireless and mobile networks. The covered security topics include a wide range of mainstream wireless technologies, such as, WLAN, Bluetooth, GSM, and UMTS. In addition, the course will explore security and privacy problems, and potential solutions of new and emerging wireless technologies, such as ZigBee, wireless mesh networks, and RFIDs.


This course normally runs once a year.

Course dates

Future courses are expected, but yet to be scheduled.


The successful participant will

  • understand the main security goals and adversarial models of wireless and mobile networks;
  • gain a broad knowledge regarding real-world security architectures of WLANs, GSM/UMTS, WSNs, RFIDs, etc.;
  • be able to reason about wireless security protocols and protection techniques, discuss proposed solutions and their limitations;
  • have an overview of the recent advances regarding lightweight authentication, key management for wireless networks, secure localization, and wireless device pairing.


Wireless Communication
Wireless Network Overview, Wireless Channel, Signal Propagation, Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Unintentional and Intention Interference.
Risks and Threats of Wireless
Wireless Security Objectives, Passive and Active Threat Model, Cryptography Primer, Performance vs. Security Tradeoffs, Wireless Security Toolbox.
Wireless Physical Layer Technologies
Anti-jamming/Jamming-resistance, Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS), Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS), Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM).
Security of WiFi Networks
IEEE 802.11 Architecture and Protocols, Control and Management Frames, Rogue Access Points, WEP, IEEE 802.11i, IEEE 802.11w, Selfish behaviour at the WLAN MAC Layer.
Security of Cellular Networks
GSM and UMTS Network Structure and Architectures, GSM and UMTS Authentication and Confidentiality, Overview of Attacks and Countermeasures, Beyond 3G.
Security of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs)
WSN Architectures and Protocols, Security Threats, Cryptographic Primitives, Key Establishment and Distribution, Security of ZigBee WSNs, Security of Wireless Medical Devices, Future Trends.
Security of Near Field Communications (NFCs) and RFIDs
Introduction to NFC and RFID Technologies, Tags and Readers, Security and Privacy Issues, Real-World Attacks, Standardisation Activities, Authentication and Access Control Protocols.
Advanced Topics
Emerging Wireless Technologies, Device Pairing, Secure Localization and Positioning, Broadcast Authentication.


Participants should understand the terminology of systems security, cryptography, and security protocols to the level covered in the SPR module.