MAVPro: ADS-B message verification for aviation security with minimal numbers of on-ground sensors
Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) centrally contributes to aircraft traffic control in the US and Europe since 2020. ADS-B messages contain information about aircraft location and tracks to provide better real-time traceability of aircraft in space. However, the lack of security mechanisms will be an obstacle for trusting the ADS-B technology. Thus, countermeasures should be integrated to secure the communication and evaluate the integrity and trustworthiness of received messages. In this paper, we design a message verification protocol called MAVPro to evaluate the trustworthiness of received ADS-B messages whose authenticity and integrity could otherwise not be verified. The main idea behind MAVPro is to compare location claims in received ADS-B messages with expected aircraft locations, which are computed using predicted trajectory information (e. g., velocity, elapsed time, aircraft acceleration, heading information) and a set of pre-trusted, continuously updated anchors. Our protocol is able to evaluate the trustworthiness of received messages if as little as one ADS-B receiver obtains a message — as opposed to four receivers required for using multilateration-based techniques to verify position claims. Thus we are able to considerably extend the coverage area where security checks can be applied compared to existing solutions. We evaluate MAVPro based on real-time data from the OpenSky network, analyze its performance, and verify its applicability to address ADS-B security concerns. MAVPro is backwards compatible and does not require changes to the ADS-B infrastructure.
Authors: Ala’ Darabseh, Hoda AlKhzaimi & Christina Pöppe