IEEE Security & Privacy, to be submitted.

Can Cryptography Secure Next Generation Air Traffic Surveillance?

Kyle D. Wesson, Todd E. Humphreys and Brian L. Evans

Wireless Networking and Communications Group, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas USA - -

Paper Draft

Radionavigation Security Research at UT Austin


The proposed next-generation air traffic control system depends crucially on a surveillance technology called ADS-B. By 2020, nearly all aircraft flying through U.S. airspace must carry ADS-B transponders to continuously transmit their precise real-time location and velocity to ground-based air traffic control and to other en route aircraft. Surprisingly, the ADS-B protocol has no built-in security mechanisms, which renders ADS-B systems vulnerable to a wide range of malicious attacks. Herein, we address the question "can cryptography secure ADS-B?"-- in other words, is there a practical and effective cryptographic solution that can be retrofit to the existing ADS-B system and enhance the security of this critical aviation technology?

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Last Updated 03/20/14.