Vulnerability analysis of the wireless infrastructure to intentional electromagnetic interference

Gerrit Stefan van de Beek

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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    Contemporary society is greatly dependent upon a set of critical infrastructures (CIs) providing security and quality of life. Electronic systems control the safety-critical functioning of most CIs, and these electronic systems are susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI). A threat to the infrastructures is that adversaries, such as terrorists, could disrupt the functioning by using electromagnetic (EM) sources. This is defined as intentional electromagnetic interference (IEMI). The European Commission released a research call to protect the CIs against EM attacks, and the project STRUCTURES addressed this call and got funded. The work presented in this thesis was conducted within STRUCTURES. The research goal of this thesis is to study the vulnerability of the wireless communication infrastructure to IEMI. Wireless communication is today being used all over the world and the dependence of society upon wireless networks is growing. Communication is essential for the safe and effective functioning of the emergency services and herewith for the safety of the civilians. A detailed insight into the vulnerability of wireless systems should result into the identification of proper protection strategies and countermeasures to increase the robustness of the CI. The development of new innovative protection techniques is not part of this work. Overall, it can be concluded that a detailed risk analysis of IEMI against wireless communication is presented in this thesis and various reasons are identified why IEMI should be considered as a serious threat for wireless communication. A comprehensive vulnerability analysis is presented and three different interference mechanisms are recognized: physical damage of the receiver, saturation of the receiver, and jamming. Along the vulnerability analysis generic experimental methods are presented. For the three different interference mechanisms, various protection techniques and strategies are identified, which can be used to improve the robustness of wireless communication against IEMI.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • Leferink, Franciscus Bernardus Johannes, Supervisor
    Thesis sponsors
    Award date17 Nov 2016
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Print ISBNs978-90-365-4252-4
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2016


    • IR-101969
    • METIS-318614

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