Conference Paper

ARQ-based secret key sharing

Latif M.A.
Sultan A.
El Gamal H.

This paper develops a novel framework for sharing secret keys using existing Automatic Repeat reQuest (ARQ) protocols. Our approach exploits the multi-path nature of the wireless environment to hide the key from passive eavesdroppers. The proposed framework does not assume the availability of any prior channel state information (CSI) and exploits only the one bit ACK/NACK feedback from the legitimate receiver. Compared with earlier approaches, the main innovation lies in the distribution of key bits among multiple ARQ frames. Interestingly, this idea allows for achieving a positive secrecy rate even when the eavesdropper experiences more favorable channel conditions, on average, than the legitimate receiver. In the sequel, we characterize the information theoretic limits of the proposed schemes, develop low complexity explicit implementations, and conclude with numerical results that validate our theoretical claims. ©2009 IEEE.