A Countermeasure for Traffic Analysis Attacks: Covert Communications With Digital Modulation

Topal O. A., Karabulut Kurt G. Z.

IEEE WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS LETTERS, vol.10, no.2, pp.441-445, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/lwc.2020.3034664
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Compendex, INSPEC
  • Page Numbers: pp.441-445
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In this letter, we provide a physical layer supported defense mechanism against traffic analysis attacks by exploring the covert communication capability of digital modulation schemes. We analyze and compare the performances of M-PSK, M-QAM, M-ASK and M-APSK modulations in terms of the probability of detection by a warden and the maximum achievable throughput at the receiver. We obtain a lower bound for the covert transmission probability at Willie, which can be utilized as a covertness limit to maximize the throughput. Numerical studies highlight the tightness of the presented lower bound and show the maximum achievable throughput limits without being detected by a traffic analysis attacker.