AuthentiCall: Efficient Identity and Content Authentication for Phone Calls

AuthentiCall: Efficient Identity and Content Authentication for Phone Calls has won best poster presentation at NDSS (Network and Distributed System Symposium) 2017.  The authors include the University of Florida FICS Research Institute students and faculty Logan Blue, Hadi Abdullah, Luis Vargas, Dr. Patrick Traynor, Dr. Thomas Shrimpton and North Carolina State University Dr. Bradley Reaves.  The authors identify robust limitations of the trustworthiness of telephones and propose a profound elucidation.

Telephones are unable to provide end-to-end authentication between callers.  The AuthentiCall system cryptographically authenticates both parties on the call, and also provides strong guarantees of the integrity of conversations made over traditional phone networks. To achieve these ends, the use of formally verified protocols that bind low-bitrate data channels to heterogeneous audio channels are used. AuthentiCall can be used to provide strong authentication before calls are answered, allowing users to ignore calls claiming a particular Caller ID that are unable or unwilling to provide proof of that assertion.

AuthentiCall is the first to use these digests to ensure that received call audio originated from the legitimate source and has not been tampered with by an adversary. Most critically, AuthentiCall provides these guarantees for standard telephone calls without requiring changes to any core network.  Moreover it can be argued that strong and efficient end-to end authentication for phone networks is an approaching practical reality.

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