ES-AKA: An Efficient and Secure Authentication and Key Agreement Protocol for UMTS Networks

Research paper by Neetesh Saxena, Jaya Thomas, Narendra S. Chaudhari

Indexed on: 17 Apr '15Published on: 17 Apr '15Published in: Wireless Personal Communications


The authentication and key agreement (AKA) protocol of the Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) was proposed to solve the vulnerabilities found in the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) systems. The UMTS-AKA provides mutual authentication, but is still vulnerable to redirection attack, denial of service attack, and man-in-the-middle attack. Apart from various attacks possibilities, the UMTS-AKA has a problem of counter synchronization, generates huge overhead, and utilizes more bandwidth and message exchanges during the authentication. An intruder may apply these attacks to impersonate the network or mischarge the mobile users. In this paper, we propose an efficient and secure AKA protocol namely ES-AKA to prevent the UMTS network against these problems and attacks. This protocol also solves the synchronization problem occurred between a mobile station MS and its home network HLR. The ES-AKA protocol generates lesser communication overhead as compared to UMTS-AKA, EXT-AKA, COCKTAIL-AKA, SKA-AKA, AP-AKA, X-AKA, EURASIP-AKA, Full-AKA, and U-AKA protocols. In addition, it also generates less computation overhead than the UMTS-AKA, EXT-AKA, COCKTAIL-AKA, S-AKA, Full-AKA, and U-AKA protocols. On an average, the ES-AKA protocol reduces 62 % of the bandwidth, which is the maximum reduction of the bandwidth by any AKA protocol referred in the paper. This protocol is also able to reduce 6 % of the messages exchanged (in terms of computations) during the authentication in comparison to UMTS-AKA.