University of Oulu

A. Braeken, M. Liyanage, P. Kumar and J. Murphy, "Novel 5G Authentication Protocol to Improve the Resistance Against Active Attacks and Malicious Serving Networks," in IEEE Access, vol. 7, pp. 64040-64052, 2019. doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2914941

Novel 5G authentication protocol to improve the resistance against active attacks and malicious serving networks

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Author: Braeken, An1; Liyanage, Madhusanka2,3; Kumar, Pardeep4;
Organizations: 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
2School of Computer Science, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
3Centre for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4Department of Computer Science, Swansea University, Swansea, U.K.
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-09-24


The security of mobile communication largely depends on the strength of the authentication key exchange protocol. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Group has standardized the 5G AKA (Authentication and Key Agreement) protocol for the next generation of mobile communications. It has been recently shown that the current version of this protocol still contains several weaknesses regarding user localization, leakage of activity, active attackers, and in the presence of malicious serving networks, leading to potentially major security leaks. We propose a new version of the 5G AKA protocol to overcome all the currently identified weaknesses in the protocol. In the new protocol, we replace the sequence numbers with random numbers, making it possible to drastically reduce the number of required communication phases and steps in the protocol. The usage of random numbers for the 5G AKA protocol is possible since the current Universal Subscriber Identity Modules (USIMs) are now capable of performing randomized asymmetric encryption operations. Moreover, the proposed protocol provides two additional security features, i.e., post-compromise security and forward security, not present in the current 5G AKA protocol. Finally, we evaluate the performance, both computation and communication efficiency, of the proposed AKA protocol and show its improvements compared to the current 5G AKA protocol.

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Series: IEEE access
ISSN: 2169-3536
ISSN-E: 2169-3536
ISSN-L: 2169-3536
Volume: 7
Pages: 64040 - 64052
DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2914941
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
Funding: This work was supported in part by the School of Computer Science, University College Dublin, in part by the European Union in RESPONSE 5G under Grant 789658, in part by the Project and Academy of Finland in 6Genesis Flagship under Grant 318927 Project, and in part by the COST Action CA15127 (RECODIS) and CA16226 (SHELD-ON) Projects
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 318927
Detailed Information: 318927 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 IEEE. Translations and content mining are permitted for academic research only. Personal use is also permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission. See for more information.