A Novel Authentication Mechanism for Mobile Satellite Communication Systems

The authentication protocols existing in the realm of mobile satellite communication networks, usually employ the one-time shared secret technique. Although the technique combats well against replay attacks, however, it is vulnerable to desynchronisation attacks. The later type of attacks, if framed and mounted against the crucial update mechanisms, which occur in mobile satellite communication systems, can lead to permanent Denial of Service (DoS) conditions. In this context, the authentication protocol initially proposed by Lee et al. [1] Has emerged as the defacto protocol and forms the basis for various other authentication protocols developed since then. In this paper our contribution is two-fold. The first part of the paper presents an analysis of the authentication protocol [1], which reveals that the protocol is fundamentally susceptible to two attacks: impersonation attack and desynchronisation attack. To overcome these susceptibilities, in the second part of the paper, a new authentication protocol is proposed which incorporates a resynchronization phase. The paper demonstrates that the proposed solution is robust to impersonation attacks as well as to permanent DoS conditions caused by desynchronisation attacks. Moreover, the proposed solution is expected to find its application to address the desynchronisation issue found in numerous other recently published enhanced authentication protocols.