Covert communications when the warden does not know the background noise power

Dennis Goeckel, Boulat Bash, Saikat Guha, Don Towsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


If the warden Willie attempting to detect the transmission knows the statistics of his receiver noise, Alice can transmit no more than O(√n) covert bits reliably to Bob in n channel uses of an AWGN channel. However, if Willie does not know his noise statistics exactly, Alice can covertly transmit O(n) bits. In this letter, Willie lacks knowledge of his channel statistics but observes T(n) length-n codeword slots, where some number may be used by Alice to attempt covert transmission. We show that Willie can often limit Alice to the same performance scaling as when he knows his channel statistics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2507594
Pages (from-to)236-239
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Communications Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital communication, signal detection, security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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