BANA: Body area network authentication exploiting channel characteristics

Lu Shi, Ming Li, Shucheng Yu, Jiawei Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


In wireless body area network (BAN), node authentication is essential for trustworthy and reliable gathering of patient's critical health information. Traditional authentication solutions depend on prior trust among nodes whose establishment would require either key pre-distribution or non-intuitive participation by inexperienced users. Most existing non-cryptographic authentication schemes require advanced hardware or significant modifications to the system software, which are impractical for BANs. In this paper, for the first time, we propose a lightweight body area network authentication scheme BANA. Different from previous work, BANA does not depend on prior-trust among nodes and can be efficiently realized on commercial off-the-shelf low-end sensors. We achieve this by exploiting a unique physical layer characteristic naturally arising from the multi-path environment surrounding a BAN, i.e., the distinct received signal strength (RSS) variation behaviors among on-body channels and between on-body and off-body communication channels. Based on distinct RSS variations, BANA adopts clustering analysis to differentiate the signals from an attacker and a legitimate node. We also make use of multi-hop on-body channel characteristics to enhance the robustness of our authentication mechanism. The effectiveness of BANA is validated through extensive real-world experiments under various scenarios. It is shown that BANA can accurately identify multiple attackers with minimal amount of overhead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6584939
Pages (from-to)1803-1816
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Authentication
  • Physical Layer
  • RSS
  • Sensor
  • Wireless Body Area Network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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