Physical layer orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing acquisition and timing synchronization security
Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) has become the manifest modulation choice for 4G standards. Timing acquisition and carrier frequency offset synchronization are prerequisite to OFDM demodulation and must be performed often. Most of the OFDM methods for synchronization were not designed with security in mind. In particular, we analyze the performance of a maximum likelihood synchronization estimator against highly correlated jamming attacks. We present a series of attacks against OFDM timing acquisition: preamble whitening, the false preamble attack, preamble warping, and preamble nulling.The performance of OFDM synchronization turns out to be very poor against these attacks, and a number of mitigation strategies and security improvements are discussed.