Title: Secure Timing Advance Based Context-Aware Handover Protocol for Vehicular Ad-Hoc Heterogeneous Networks

Issue Number: Vol. 7, No. 3
Year of Publication: Sep - 2018
Page Numbers: 256-274
Authors: Vincent Omollo Nyangaresi, Silvance O. Abeka and Anthony Rodgrigues
Journal Name: International Journal of Cyber-Security and Digital Forensics (IJCSDF)
- Hong Kong
DOI:  http://dx.doi.org/10.17781/P002450


Heterogeneous networks and their applications introduce new shortcomings in terms of access control and confidentiality during handover process. Unfortunately, implementing stronger security mechanisms during the handover process elongates the whole process as it increases the signaling traffic between the mobile units and the network. Handover authentication is a crucial process in heterogeneous cellular networks since it ensures that mobile nodes move across multiple access points utilizing different access technologies, securely and seamlessly. As such, a number of handover authentication algorithms and protocols have been developed while others have just been proposed. Unfortunately, the conventional handover authentication processes are susceptible to attacks owing to unsecured pre-authentication traffic. These attacks include jamming, denial of service and downgrade attacks which must be eliminated in order to strengthen the user’s security. In addition, current handover algorithms involve high signaling overheads, massive computation costs, call drops and call blocking. These call drops and call blocks may be occasioned by unavailability of free channels, low level of system configuration or high traffic densities. The effective handling of the handoff procedures reduces handoff failure rates, packet drop frequency and handoff latency. Consequently, the design of proficient handoff management techniques plays a significant role in providing the required quality of service to the subscribers. Since during the handover process the security mechanism may shift, the mobile equipment and the network must provide an assurance that they are able to communicate with each other only upon agreeing on the keys to be employed in the protection of their data. Past research has shown that handover failure is the main contributor to packet drops or call blocking. In this paper, an investigation of the various handover algorithms is provided and a critique of these algorithms is given. Based on the challenges of these handover techniques, a novel secure context-aware handover based on timing advance is proposed. The proposed protocol is hinged on mobile user mobility prediction and timing advance to preserve some time slots to facilitate the incorporation of strong authentication in the handover process.