The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Improving and Distributing Key Management on Mobile Networks

Dan Forsberg

Doctoral dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Information and Natural Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium T2 at the Aalto University School of Science and Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 3rd of December 2010 at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-60-3421-8)   [622 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-60-3420-1)


We address the problem of mobile network key management and authentication that negatively affects the handoff performance, adds overhead to the system in terms of key exchange signaling, authentication, and key distribution. We aim to improve the efficiency of the key management subsystem and to reduce investment pressure on core network elements. We address all these problems successfully. Our novel SKC key management mechanism is the best key management mechanism among the ones we found in reducing signaling load from the KD and making the mobility system independent of the AP-KD link delay. It is a significant contribution to the mobile network key management with fast handoffs when separate keys for APs are required and has many useful applications.

Our novel receiver and sender ID binding protocol with symmetric keys is new and shows analogy with Identity Based Cryptography. It is a generalization of the identity binding that SKC is using. Furthermore, our distributed AAA architecture with SKC, certificates, and hardware-based security is a disruptive proposal and show how the mobile network KD can be distributed to the edge nodes.

Our quantitative analysis and comparison of SKC and LTE key management is new and not seen before. Our research affected the LTE Security standardization and contributes to the research and development of home base stations, community and municipal Wi-Fi access points.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 6 publications:

  1. Wenhui Hu and Dan Forsberg. 2006. Fast solutions for AP-to-AP handoffs. In: Proceedings of the 11th Nordic Workshop on Secure IT-Systems (NordSec 2006). Linköping, Sweden. 19-20 October 2006. 13 pages.
  2. Dan Forsberg. 2007. Protected session keys context for distributed session key management. Wireless Personal Communications, volume 43, number 2, pages 665-676. doi:10.1007/s11277-007-9271-6.
  3. Dan Forsberg, Huang Leping, Kashima Tsuyoshi, and Seppo Alanärä. 2007. Enhancing security and privacy in 3GPP E-UTRAN radio interface. In: Proceedings of the 18th IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications (PIMRC 2007). Athens, Greece. 3-7 September 2007. 5 pages. ISBN 1-4244-1144-0.
  4. Dan Forsberg. 2010. LTE key management analysis with session keys context. Computer Communications, volume 33, number 16, pages 1907-1915. doi:10.1016/j.comcom.2010.07.002.
  5. Dan Forsberg. 2007. Use cases of implicit authentication and key establishment with sender and receiver ID binding. In: Proceedings of the 8th IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks (WoWMoM 2007). Helsinki, Finland. 18-21 June 2007. 8 pages. ISBN 1-4244-0992-6.
  6. Dan Forsberg. 2007. Secure distributed AAA with domain and user reputation. In: The Third IEEE International Workshop on Trust, Security, and Privacy for Ubiquitous Computing (TSPUC 2007). Helsinki, Finland. 18-21 June 2007. Proceedings of the 8th IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks (WoWMoM 2007). Helsinki, Finland. 18-21 June 2007. 6 pages. ISBN 1-4244-0992-6.

Keywords: key management, mobile network security, authentication, fast handovers, key distribution

This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.

© 2010 Aalto University School of Science and Technology

Last update 2011-05-26