Allerton 2015 Paper Abstract


Paper ThB4.3

Soltani, Ramin (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Goeckel, Dennis (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Towsley, Don (University of Massachusetts), Houmansadr, Amir (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Covert Communications on Poisson Packet Channels

Scheduled for presentation during the Regular Session "Information Theory III" (ThB4), Thursday, October 1, 2015, 11:10−11:30, Pine

53rd Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing, Sept 29-Oct 2, 2015, Allerton Park and Retreat Center, Monticello, IL, USA

This information is tentative and subject to change. Compiled on December 5, 2021

Keywords Information Hiding and Watermarking, Information Theory, Detection and Estimation


Consider a channel where authorized transmitter Jack sends packets to authorized receiver Steve according to a Poisson process with rate λ packets per second for a time period T. Suppose that covert transmitter Alice wishes to communicate to covert receiver Bob on this channel without being detected by a watchful adversary Willie. In the first scenario, we assume that warden Willie cannot see packet contents but rather can only observe packet timings, and Alice must send information by inserting her own packets into the channel. We show that the number of packets that Alice can covertly transmit to Bob is on the order of the square root of the number of packets that Jack transmits to Steve; conversely, if Alice transmits more than that, she will be detected by Willie with high probability. In the second scenario, we assume that Willie can see packet contents but Alice can communicate across an M/M/1 queue with service rate μ > e . λ to Bob by altering the timings of the packets from Jack. First, Alice builds a codebook, with each codeword consisting of a set of inter-packet delays. However, for a successful transmission, Alice must always have a packet to send at the appropriate time. Hence, we propose a construction where Alice covertly slows down the packet stream to buffer packets to use during a succeeding codeword transmission phase. Using this approach, Alice can covertly and reliably transmit O(λT) covert bits to Bob in time period T.



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