A Comprehensive Formal Analysis of 5G Handover

Aleksi Peltonen, Ralf Sasse, David Basin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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5G has been under standardization for over a decade and will drive the world's mobile technologies in the decades to come. One of the cornerstones of the 5G standard is its security, also for devices that move frequently between networks, such as autonomous vehicles, and must therefore be handed over from one network operator to another. We present a novel, comprehensive, formal analysis of the security of the device handover protocols specified in the 5G standard. Our analysis covers both handovers within the 5G core network, as well as fallback methods for backwards compatibility with 4G/LTE. We identify four main handover protocols and formally model them in the security protocol verification tool Tamarin. Using these models, we determine for each protocol the minimal set of security assumptions required for its intended security goals to be met. Understanding these requirements is essential when designing devices and other protocols that depend on the reliability and security of network handovers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication14th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 May 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication

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