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Multi-tiered Security Authentication for Wireless Devices

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130463D
Publication Date: 2005-Oct-31
Document File: 4 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The big question in wireless security is, how can one trust someone enough to allow them access to a resource? When it comes to wireless, everything is out in the open. Anyone whocares to may listen in or eavesdrop on a wireless transmission. That is an inherent characteristic of wireless communication. Such concerns as identity (i.e., how do you know that who someone says they are, is really them?), safety and security needs to be addressed.

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        MTSA FOR WIRELESS DEVICES Multi-tiered Security Authentication for Wireless Devices

Disclosed Anonymously

The big question in wireless security is, how can one trust someone enough to allow them access to a resource? When it comes to wireless, everything is out in the open. Anyone who cares to may listen in or eavesdrop on a wireless transmission. That is an inherent characteristic of wireless communication. Such concerns as identity (i.e., how do you know that who someone says they are, is really them?), safety and security needs to be addressed.

The invention is designed to address the problem of how to establish enough trust in a wireless device to allow them access to a protected resource.

There are two issues to address here.

1. How to secure the transmission channel so that no one else can listen in and get access to the protected resource.

The propose solution is that for an initial connection, two protocols must be used. One protocol establishes secrecy. The second protocol establishes identity. One should stress that any protocol that fits with the following definition is acceptable. This solution does not revolve around any specific protocol. In terms of secrecy, the protocol must encrypt communication between the wireless device and the authenticator. This is to ensure that outside listeners cannot understand what is being communicated. Example protocols include WEP, WPA and AES. In terms of identity, the protocol must prove that the device is allowed to connect. Only those that are expected to connect may be allowed access to further negotiate their way to the protected resource. Example protocols include PKI certificates, smart cards or biometrics.

2. How to establish enough trust so that access to the protected resource is granted.

There is an intrinsic limitation when it comes to trust. Trust is defined by a person (or many persons). From requiring a simple username and password to requiring a DNA sample, the level of trust required is ultimately placed in the hands of a human decision-maker. The proposed solution acknowledges this and embraces it.

An n-tiered solution is proposed to establishing trust. After passing initial authentication, a wireless device must progress through n-tiers before they are granted access to the resource. The number of...