An Introduction

As network coding is becoming more and more popular in network technology, security cannot be disregarded. It is a crucial part for the well-functioning of computer systems and networks.

Network coding technologies have both advantages and disadvantages in comparison to traditional network technologies. For example, they are easily securable against eavesdropping, but byzantine attacks can have a more nefast effect in the well-functioning of the network.

Research in Network Coding Security has been subdivided in the following areas:

Wiretapping Problem (External Eavesdropping)

Objective: Confidentiality

Attacker model:

  • The attacker can wiretap a set of links, which must be chosen from a collection of sets.
  • While this collection is known to the code designer, which specific set the wiretapper chooses is not known.
  • The intermediate nodes in the network comply with the protocol.

Internal eavesdropping

Objective: Confidentiality

Attacker model:

  • The attackers are the intermediate nodes in the network, in the sense that they comply with the protocol but will try to obtain as much information as possible.
  • This type of attacker is also frequently referred to as "nice but curious" intermediate nodes.

Byzantine attacks

Objective: Integrity

Attacker model:

  • The attackers are usually the intermediate nodes in the network.
  • In this case, they are allowed to modify packets maliciously.

Network Coding for Secure Protocols

There are also several protocols for which network coding can be beneficial with regard to both security and robustness of networks.

Some examples are:

  • Key Distribution
  • Anonymization Protocols
  • Byzantine attacks in file distribution
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