Achieving robust wireless localization resilient to signal strength attacks

Xiaoyan Li, Yingying Chen, Jie Yang, Xiuyuan Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Received signal strength (RSS) based algorithms have been very attractive for localization since they allow the reuse of existing communication infrastructure and are applicable to many commodity radio technologies. Such algorithms, however, are sensitive to a set of non-cryptographic attacks, where the physical measurement process itself can be corrupted by adversaries. For example, the attacker can perform signal strength attacks by placing an absorbing or reflecting material around a wireless device to modify its RSS readings. In this work, we first formulate the all-around signal strength attacks, where similar attacks are launched towards all landmarks, and experimentally show the feasibility of launching such attacks. We then propose a general principle for designing RSS-based algorithms so that they are robust to all-around signal strength attacks. To evaluate our approach, we adapt a set of representative RSS-based localization algorithms according to our principle. We experiment with both simulated attacks and two sets of real attack scenarios. All the experiments show that our design principle can be applied to a wide spectrum of algorithms to achieve comparable performance with much better robustness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalWireless Networks
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Design principle
  • Robust algorithms
  • Signal strength attacks
  • Wireless localization


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