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Wi-Fi based covert channel that hides information in hand crafted acknowledgement frames imitating additional channel effects that can be extracted from channel state information at the intended receiver.

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NexMon logo

Nexmon Covert Channel

This projects allows you to embed covert information into outgoing acknowledgement frames by flipping the phase of selected subcarriers before transmission. At the receiver, we extract the channel state information to detect the phase changes.

Extract from our License

Any use of the Software which results in an academic publication or other publication which includes a bibliography must include citations to the nexmon project a) and the paper cited under b) or the thesis cited under c):

a) "Matthias Schulz, Daniel Wegemer and Matthias Hollick. Nexmon: The C-based Firmware Patching Framework. https://nexmon.org"

b) "Matthias Schulz, Jakob Link, Francesco Gringoli, and Matthias Hollick. Shadow Wi-Fi: Teaching Smartphones to Transmit Raw Signals and to Extract Channel State Information to Implement Practical Covert Channels over Wi-Fi. Accepted to appear in Proceedings of the 16th ACM International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys 2018), June 2018."

c) "Matthias Schulz. Teaching Your Wireless Card New Tricks: Smartphone Performance and Security Enhancements through Wi-Fi Firmware Modifications. Dr.-Ing. thesis, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, February 2018."

Getting Started

To compile the source code, you are required to first clone the original nexmon repository that contains our C-based patching framework for Wi-Fi firmwares. Than you clone this repository as one of the sub-projects in the corresponding patches sub-directory. This allows you to build and compile all the firmware patches required to repeat our experiments. The following steps will get you started on Xubuntu 16.04 LTS:

  1. Install some dependencies: sudo apt-get install git gawk qpdf adb
  2. Only necessary for x86_64 systems, install i386 libs:
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 libncurses5:i386 libstdc++6:i386
  1. Clone the nexmon base repository: git clone https://github.com/seemoo-lab/nexmon.git.
  2. Download and extract Android NDK r11c (use exactly this version!).
  3. Export the NDK_ROOT environment variable pointing to the location where you extracted the ndk so that it can be found by our build environment.
  4. Navigate to the previously cloned nexmon directory and execute source setup_env.sh to set a couple of environment variables.
  5. Run make to extract ucode, templateram and flashpatches from the original firmwares.
  6. Navigate to utilities and run make to build all utilities such as nexmon.
  7. Attach your rooted Nexus 5 smartphone running stock firmware version 6.0.1 (M4B30Z, Dec 2016).
  8. Run make install to install all the built utilities on your phone.
  9. Navigate to patches/bcm4339/6_37_34_43/ and clone this repository: git clone https://github.com/seemoo-lab/mobisys2018_nexmon_covert_channel.git
  10. Enter the created subdirectory mobisys2018_nexmon_covert_channel and run make install-firmware to compile our firmware patch and install it on the attached Nexus 5 smartphone.

References

  • Matthias Schulz, Daniel Wegemer and Matthias Hollick. Nexmon: The C-based Firmware Patching Framework. https://nexmon.org
  • Matthias Schulz, Jakob Link, Francesco Gringoli, and Matthias Hollick. **Shadow Wi-Fi: Teaching Smartphones to Transmit Raw Signals and to Extract Channel State Information to Implement Practical Covert Channels over Wi-Fi. Accepted to appear in Proceedings of the 16th ACM International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys 2018, June 2018.
  • Matthias Schulz. Teaching Your Wireless Card New Tricks: Smartphone Performance and Security Enhancements through Wi-Fi Firmware Modifications. Dr.-Ing. thesis, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, February 2018.

Get references as bibtex file

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Networked Infrastructureless Cooperation for Emergency Response (NICER)

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Multi-Mechanisms Adaptation for the Future Internet (MAKI)

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Technische Universität Darmstadt

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University of Brescia

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Wi-Fi based covert channel that hides information in hand crafted acknowledgement frames imitating additional channel effects that can be extracted from channel state information at the intended receiver.

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