Testbed for LoRaWAN Security

The low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies, which enable cost and energy-efficient wireless connectivity for massive deployments of autonomous machines, have enabled and boosted the development of many new Internet of things (IoT) applications; however, the security of LPWA technologies in general, and specifically those operating in the license-free frequency bands, have received somewhat limited attention so far. This paper focuses specifically on the security and privacy aspects of one of the most popular license-free-band LPWA technologies, which is named LoRaWAN. The paper’s key contributions are the details of the design and experimental validation of a security-focused testbed, based on the combination of software-defined radio (SDR) and GNU Radio software with a standalone LoRaWAN transceiver. By implementing the two practical man-in-the-middle attacks (i.e., the replay and bit-flipping attacks through intercepting the over-the-air activation procedure by an external to the network attacker device), we demonstrate that the developed testbed enables practical experiments for on-air security in real-life conditions. This makes the designed testbed perspective for validating the novel security solutions and approaches and draws attention to some of the relevant security challenges extant in LoRaWAN.