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Journal of Information Science and Engineering, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 361-378 (March 2005)

Designing Authentication Protocols for Third Generation
Mobile Communication Systems

Shu-Min Cheng, ShiuhPyng Shieh, Wen-Her Yang, Fu-Yuan Lee and Jia-Ning Luo
Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering
National Chiao Tung University
Hsinchu, 300 Taiwan

Security is considered an important issue for mobile communication systems. In particular, the design of authentication mechanisms has received considerable research interest recently. However, most of the current authentication schemes for mobile systems only have simple security functions and usually have some weaknesses, such as leakage of user identities and high update overhead of temporary identities. Moreover, these schemes cannot fulfill the security requirements specified in third generation mobile systems (IMT-2000, UMTS). In this paper, we propose a secure and flexible authentication framework for mobile communication systems. In the proposed framework, service providers can dynamically choose authentication mechanisms without the cooperation of network operators in visited domains. Based on the new framework, a secure authentication protocol is proposed. The proposed protocol can satisfy the security requirements of third generation mobile systems and is secure against network attacks, such as the replay attack and substitution attack. In short, our approach is secure and practical such that it can satisfy the security requirements of third generation mobile communication systems.

Keywords: network security, flexible authentication framework, authentication protocol, mobile networks, 3G communication systems

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Received October 7, 2002; revised June 27 & December 10, 2003; accepted March 3, 2004.
Communicated by Randy Y. C. Chow.
* This work was supported in part by Lee and MTI Center for Internetworking Research (Global Crossing), Ministry of Education, and National Science Council.