VANET Project

University of South Carolina Internet Security Group

Area of Focus

VANET (Vehicular Ad-hoc NETworks) has become a promising field of research once the world is advancing towards the vision of intelligent transportation systems. Dramatic increase in the number of vehicles equipped with computing technologies and wireless communication devices created new application scenarios that were not feasible before.

These new scenarios include collision avoidance, emergency message dissemination, dynamic route scheduling, real-time traffic condition monitoring, high-speed tolling, information retrieval, and even distributed passengers teleconferencing.

In contrast with traditional vehicular networks for reporting accidents and traffic congestions, which rely on certain infrastructures, such as road-side traffic sensors, reporting data to a central database, VANET allows direct inter-vehicle communications bypassing the monitoring center, thus allowing for malicious data traffic. Developing applications and protocols for this setting poses unique security challenges, induced by the high speed and sporadic connectivity of the vehicles, the high relevance of their geographic location combined with the absence of adequate/reliable means of determining it, and the very subtle issue of the tension between liability and privacy critical for determining accountability in case of anti-social or criminal behavior.

Project Goals

Our preliminary efforts were focused on analyzing the vulnerabilities of vehicular ad-hoc networks and the salient challenges they impose. Our long-term goal is to understand what it takes to build a VANET protocol that leaves as little space as possible for misbehavior and abuse, and at the same time, remains resilient to on-going attacks with the thought of contributing to a particular security aspect. In addition to knowing its own location, each vehicle in the network needs to be aware of its relative position to the other vehicles in the neighborhood. GPS signals used for this purpose are weak and prone to spoofing and jamming. Moreover, vehicles can intentionally transmit misleading information regarding their position, making interesting implications on accountability and authorization properties related to vehicle’s position.

Our publications reflecting the work done so far

  • Preliminary Proposal.
    The proposed goal of this project is to investigate possibilities of leveraging inter-vehicle communications within the VANET framework for the purpose of analyzing crash data for accurate accident reconstruction. The possibility of "freezing time" by creating a comprehensive snapshot consisting of vital sensors data, major components’ status and relative positions of all vehicles involved in an accident or witnessed it, as it unfolded, is quite engaging. It represents a new source of objective data for the highway and vehicle safety community because it will provide a wider spectrum of data to draw conclusions on.
  • Use cases for Selected VANET applications.
    Use cases for Traffic Signal/Stop Sign/Rail Crossing Violation Warning and Crash/breakdown Warning.
    Complete list of use cases can be found here.
  • Generic VANET application protocol.
    There is no generic VANET protocol; however there is a set of DSRC primitives recommended for construction of interoperable VANET applications. Based on those building blocks, we can derive a generic application protocol for VANETs.

Articles Covering Related Issues

  • J.-P. Hubaux, S. Capkun, J. Luo. The Security and Privacy of Smart Vehicles IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine, 2(3):49-55, May-June 2004.
    Hubaux, et. al. present a broad overview of VANET security and privacy issues. They focus on electronic license plates and two techniques for location verification as examples of services that first generation VANETs could provide.
  • M. Raya, P. Papadimitratos, J.-P. Hubaux. Securing Vehicular Communications IEEE Wireless Communications Magazine, Special Issue on Inter-Vehicular Communications, 2006
    Raya, et. al. provide a broad overview of security risks and challenges facing VANETs. In addition, a plausible security architecture for addressing these problems is described.
  • P. Golle, D. Greene, J. Staddon. Detecting and Correcting Malicious Data in VANETs VANET '04: Proceedings of ACM workshop on Vehicular adhoc networks, 29-37,2004.
    Golle, et. al. present an approach for evaluating validity of data from node-to-node communications. In the approach, each node maintains a personal model of its surroundings and adds data from other nodes after it has been evaluated as trustworthy by comparison against the model.
  • F. Dotzer. Privacy Issues in Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks. Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, May 2005.
    Dotzer provides an overview of the privacy risks associated with maintaining and communicating personal data within VANETs. An approach for maintaining privacy involving the use of pseudonyms is proposed.
  • J. Y. Choi, M. Jakobsson, S. Wetzel. Balancing Auditability and Privacy in Vehicular Networks. ACM Workshop on Quality of Service and Security in Wireless and Mobile Networks (Q2Swinet)'05, Oct 2005.
    Choi, et al propose an approach for vehicular communications using symmetric cryptography and emphasizing incentives. They claim the use of symmetric cryptography can provide privacy more efficiently than current approaches, while emphasizing incentives to the public will overcome the fear of misusing data that was provided to authorities.
  • K. Sampigethava, L. Huang, M. Li, R. Poovendran, K. Matsuura, K. Sezaki. CARAVAN: Providing Location Privacy for VANET Proceedings of the 3rd international workshop on Vehicular ad hoc networks, 2006.
    Sampigethava et. al. present a detailed study focused on the problem of providing location privacy in VANET by allowing vehicles to prevent tracking of their broadcast communications.
  • M. Raya, J.-P. Hubaux. Security Aspects of Inter-VehiclevCommunications Swiss Transport Research Conference (STRC), 2005
    Raya et. al. analyze various security aspects of IVC and categorize possible attacks and security threats.They also propose a toolbox that would enable security architecture designers to choose the most suitable solutions to counter the threats described in the paper.
  • F. Dötzer, F. Kohlmayer, T. Kosch, M. Strassberger Secure Communication for Intersection Assistance WIT 2005: 2nd International Workshop on Intelligent Transportation, Hamburg, Germany, March 15-16, 2005
    Dotzer et. al. claim that by intelligently controlling signalling at intersections, providing additional information to the driver and warning the driver in critical situations, the number of accidents at intersections can be reduced.They propose a solution using red light violation warning, emergency vehicle preemption and adaptive traffic light control.
  • C.-F. Chiasserini, E. Fasolo, R. Furiato, R. Gaeta, M. Garetto, M. Gribaudo, M. Sereno, A. Zanella Smart Broadcast of Warning Messages in Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks Workshop Interno Progetto NEWCOM (NoE), Turin, Italy, November 18, 2005
    Chiasserini et. al. study the performance of a forwarding scheme and a channel access mechanism for improving the efficiency of message broadcasting in VANETs. The proposed channel access scheme is based on a spatial differentiation approach.
  • T. Leinmuller, E. Schoch, F. Kargl, C. Maihofer. Influence of Falsified Position Data on Geographic Ad-Hoc Routing Proceedings of the second European Workshop on Security and Privacy in Ad hoc and Sensor Networks (ESAS 2005), July 2005.
    Leinmuller et. al. present an analysis of local and global effects of falsified position information through simulation of traffic in presense of malicious nodes. They also propose a set of methods to detect maliciously acting nodes,and countact their activity through cooperative functions.
  • D. Choffnes, F. Bustamante. STRAW: An integrated Mobility and Traffic Model for VANET VANET '05: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM international workshop on Vehicular ad hoc networks,69-78, Cologne, Germany, Sep. 2005
    Choffnes et. al. introduced STRAW, a new mobility model for vehicular networks, in which nodes move according to a simplified vehicular traffic model on roads defined by real map data followed by analysis of implications of mobility models in the performance of ad-hoc wireless routing protocols.
  • G. Korkmaz, E. Ekici Urban Multi-Hop Broadcast Protocol for Inter-Vehicle Communication Systems Proceedings of the 1st ACM international workshop on Vehicular ad hoc networks, 76-85, 2004.
    Korkmaz et. al. propose a new ecient IEEE 802.11 based multi-hop broadcast protocol (UMB) which is designed to address the broadcast storm, hidden node, and reliability problems of multi-hop broadcast in urban areas.
  • M. Mauve, J. Widmer, H. Hartenstein. A survey on position-based routing in mobile ad-hoc networks IEEE Network Magazine, vol. 15(6): 30-39, Nov. 2001.
    Mauve, et. al. presented a survey on position-based routing for mobile ad-hoc networks. Three forwarding packets strategies were analyzed: greedy routing, restricted directional flooding, and hierarchical routing.
  • H. Wu, R. Fujimoto, R. Guensler, M. Hunter. MDDV: A Mobility-Centric Data Dissemination Algorithm for Vehicular Networks VANET '04: Proceedings of the 1st ACM international workshop on Vehicular ad hoc networks, 2004
    Wu et. al. proposes a generic mobile computing approach for designing localized algorithms in vehicular networks. It combines the idea of opportunistic forwarding, trajectory based forwarding and geographical forwarding.
  • T. Nadeem, P. Shankar and L. Iftode. A Comparative Study of Data Dissemination Models for VANETs Proceedings of the 3rd Annual International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems (MOBIQUITOUS), July 2006
    Traffic data could be disseminated using vehicles moving on the same direction, vehicles moving in the opposite direction, or vehicles moving in both directions. Nadeem et. al. presents a study showing that dissemination using only vehicles in the opposite direction increases the data dissemination performance significantly.
  • A. Weimerskirch, D. Westhoff. Zero common-knowledge authentication for pervasive networks Proceedings of Selected Areas of Cryptography 2003.
    Weimerskirch et. al provides implementation details for authentication protocol that is is both very light-weight and provably secure and works without any pre-established knowledge or without a common TTP. It is based on the notion of re-recognition.
  • P. Kamat, A. Baliga, W. Trappe. An Identity-Based Security Framework for VANETs International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking Proceedings of the 3rd international workshop on Vehicular ad hoc networks, 2006
    Kamat et. al. propose a security framework for vehicular networks, using Identity-Based Cryptography (IBC), that provides authentication, confidentiality, message integrity, non repudiation and pseudonymity.
  • B. Parno, A. Perrig. Challenges in Securing Vehicular Networks Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-IV), November 14-15, 2005
    Parno et. al. analyzes challenges in VANETs associated with providing strong security while preserving privacy. They propose a set of security primitives that can be used as the building blocks of secure applications.