Evaluating Security Mechanisms in Different Protocol Layers for Bluetooth Connections

Evaluating Security Mechanisms in Different Protocol Layers for Bluetooth Connections

Georgios Kambourakis (University of the Aegean, Greece), Angelos Rouskas (University of the Aegean, Greece) and Stefanos Gritzalis (University of the Aegean, Greece)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-899-4.ch041
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Security is always an important factor in wireless connections. As with all other existing radio technologies, the Bluetooth standard is often cited to suffer from various vulnerabilities and security inefficiencies while attempting to optimize the trade-off between performance and complementary services including security. On the other hand, security protocols like IP secure (IPsec) and secure shell (SSH) provide strong, flexible, low cost, and easy to implement solutions for exchanging data over insecure communication links. However, the employment of such robust security mechanisms in wireless realms enjoins additional research efforts due to several limitations of the radio-based connections, for example, link bandwidth and unreliability. This chapter will evaluate several Bluetooth personal area network (PAN) parameters, including absolute transfer times, link capacity, throughput, and goodput. Experiments shall employ both Bluetooth native security mechanisms, as well as the two aforementioned protocols. Through a plethora of scenarios utilizing both laptops and palmtops, we offer a comprehensive in-depth comparative analysis of each of the aforementioned security mechanisms when deployed over Bluetooth communication links.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Goodput: The application level throughput, that is, the number of useful bits per unit of time forwarded by the network from a certain source address to a certain destination, excluding protocol overhead retransmissions, and so forth.

Secure Shell or SSH: A set of standards and an associated network protocol that allows establishing a secure channel between a local and a remote computer. It uses public-key cryptography to authenticate the remote computer and to optionally allow the remote computer to authenticate the user. SSH provides confidentiality and integrity of data exchanged between the two computers using encryption and MACs.

Throughput: The amount of digital data per time unit that are delivered to a certain terminal in a network, from a network node, or from one node to another, for example, via a communication link.

IPSec: IPsec (IP security) is a suite of protocols for securing Internet protocol communications by encrypting and/or authenticating each IP packet in a data stream. IPsec also includes protocols for cryptographic key establishment. There are two modes of IPsec operation: transport mode and tunnel mode. IPsec is implemented by a set of cryptographic protocols for securing packet flows. Specifically, the authentication header (AH) protocol provides authentication, payload (message), and IP header integrity (with some cryptography algorithm also nonrepudiation). On the other hand, the encapsulating security payload (ESP) protocol provides data confidentiality, payload (message) integrity, and with some cryptography algorithm also authentication.

Bluetooth: An industrial specification for wireless personal area networks (PANs). Bluetooth provides a way to connect and exchange information between devices such as mobile phones, laptops, PCs, printers, digital cameras, and video game consoles via a secure, globally unlicensed short-range radio frequency.

Network Performance: The level of quality of service of a telecommunications resource, protocol, or product.

IEEE 802.15: The IEEE 802.15 WPAN working group focuses on the development of consensus standards for personal area networks or short distance wireless networks. These WPANs address wireless networking of portable and mobile computing devices such as PCs, PDAs, peripherals, cell phones, pagers, and consumer electronics, allowing these devices to communicate and interoperate with one another. The IEEE Project 802.15.1 has derived a wireless personal area network standard based on the Bluetooth v1.1 Foundation Specifications.

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