Covert Channels in the MQTT-based Internet of Things

Velinov, Aleksandar and Mileva, Aleksandra and Wendzel, Steffen and Mazurczyk, Wojciech (2019) Covert Channels in the MQTT-based Internet of Things. IEEE Access, 7. pp. 161899-161915. ISSN 2169-3536

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Network covert channels are a part of the information hiding research area that deals with the secret transfer of information over communication networks. Covert channels can be utilized, for instance, for data leakage and stealthy malware communications. While data hiding in communication networks has been studied within the last years for several major communication protocols, currently no work is available that investigates covert channels for the publish-subscriber model. To fill this gap, we present the first comprehensive study of covert channels in a protocol utilizing the publish-subscriber model, i.e., the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol which is widely deployed in Internet of Things (IoT) environments. In particular, we describe seven direct and six indirect covert channels and we evaluate and categorize them using the network information hiding patterns approach. Finally, in order to prove that MQTT-based covert channels are practically feasible and effective, we implement the chosen data hiding scheme and perform its experimental evaluation.

Item Type: Article
Impact Factor Value: 4.098
Subjects: Natural sciences > Computer and information sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Computer Science
Depositing User: Aleksandra Mileva
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 10:39
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 08:35

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