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Implications of Coding Layers on Physical-Layer Security: A Secrecy Benefit Approach

Harrison, W. K. Harrison ; Beard, E. ; Dye, S. ; Holmes, E. ; Nelson, K. ; Gomes, M. ; Vilela, J.P.

Entropy Vol. 21, Nº 8, pp. 755 - 755, August, 2019.

ISSN (print): 1099-4300
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: 1,564 (in 2013)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.3390/e21080755

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Abstract
In this work, we consider the pros and cons of using various layers of keyless coding to achieve secure and reliable communication over the Gaussian wiretap channel. We define a new approach to information theoretic security, called practical secrecy and the secrecy benefit, to be used over real-world channels and finite blocklength instantiations of coding layers, and use this new approach to show the fundamental reliability and security implications of several coding mechanisms that have traditionally been used for physical-layer security. We perform a systematic/structured analysis of the effect of error-control coding, scrambling, interleaving, and coset coding, as coding layers of a secrecy system. Using this new approach, scrambling and interleaving are shown to be of no effect in increasing information theoretic security, even when measuring the effect at the output of the eavesdropper's decoder. Error control coding is shown to present a trade-off between secrecy and reliability that is dictated by the chosen code and the signal-to-noise ratios at the legitimate and eavesdropping receivers. Finally, the benefits of secrecy coding are highlighted, and it is shown how one can shape the secrecy benefit according to system specifications using combinations of different layers of coding to achieve both reliable and secure throughput.