Adversarial RFML: Evading Deep Learning Enabled Signal Classification
Flowers, Bryse Austin
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Deep learning has become an ubiquitous part of research in all fields, including wireless communications. Researchers have shown the ability to leverage deep neural networks (DNNs) that operate on raw in-phase and quadrature samples, termed Radio Frequency Machine Learning (RFML), to synthesize new waveforms, control radio resources, as well as detect and classify signals. While there are numerous advantages to RFML, this thesis answers the question "is it secure?" DNNs have been shown, in other applications such as Computer Vision (CV), to be vulnerable to what are known as adversarial evasion attacks, which consist of corrupting an underlying example with a small, intelligently crafted, perturbation that causes a DNN to misclassify the example. This thesis develops the first threat model that encompasses the unique adversarial goals and capabilities that are present in RFML. Attacks that occur with direct digital access to the RFML classifier are differentiated from physical attacks that must propagate over-the-air (OTA) and are thus subject to impairments due to the wireless channel or inaccuracies in the signal detection stage. This thesis first finds that RFML systems are vulnerable to current adversarial evasion attacks using the well known Fast Gradient Sign Method originally developed for CV applications. However, these current adversarial evasion attacks do not account for the underlying communications and therefore the adversarial advantage is limited because the signal quickly becomes unintelligible. In order to envision new threats, this thesis goes on to develop a new adversarial evasion attack that takes into account the underlying communications and wireless channel models in order to create adversarial evasion attacks with more intelligible underlying communications that generalize to OTA attacks.
- Masters Theses