Improved Chaff-Based CMIX for Solving Location Privacy Issues in VANETs


Safety application systems in Vehicular Ad-hoc Networks (VANETs) require the dissemination of contextual information about the scale of neighbouring vehicles; therefore, ensuring security and privacy is of utmost importance. Vulnerabilities in the messages and the system’s infrastructure introduce the potential for attacks that lessen safety and weaken passengers’ privacy. The purpose of short-lived anonymous identities, called “pseudo-identities”, is to divide the trip into unlinkable short passages. Researchers have proposed changing pseudo-identities more frequently inside a pre-defined area, called a cryptographic mix-zone (CMIX) to ensure enhanced protection. According to ETSI ITS technical report recommendations, the researchers must consider the low-density scenarios to achieve unlinkability in CMIX. Recently, Christian et al. proposed a Chaff-based CMIX scheme that sends fake messages under the consideration of low-density conditions to enhance vehicles’ privacy and confuse attackers. To accomplish full unlinkability, in this paper, we first show the following security and privacy vulnerabilities in the Christian et al. scheme: Linkability attacks outside the CMIX may occur due to deterministic data sharing during the authentication phase (e.g., duplicate certificates for each communication). Adversaries may inject fake certificates, which breaks Cuckoo Filters’ (CFs) updates authenticity, and the injection may be deniable. CMIX symmetric key leakage outside the coverage may occur. We propose a VPKI-based protocol to mitigate these issues. First, we use a modified version of Wang et al.’s scheme to provide mutual authentication without revealing the real identity. To this end, the messages of a vehicle are signed with a different pseudo-identity “certificate”. Furthermore, the density is increased via the sending of fake messages in low traffic periods to provide unlinkability outside the mix-zone. Second, unlike Christian et al.’s scheme, we use the Adaptive Cuckoo Filter (ACF) instead of CF to overcome the false positives’ effect on the whole filter. Moreover, to prevent any alteration of the ACFs, only RUSs distribute the updates, and they sign the new fingerprints. Third, the mutual authentication prevents any leakage from the mix zones’ symmetric keys by generating a fresh one for each communication through a Diffie–Hellman key exchange.


open access article


authentication, privacy, security, non-repudiation, pseudonym, unlinkability, vehicular ad-hoc networks


Al-Marshoud, M.S., Al-Bayatti, A.H., Kiraz, M.S. (2021) Improved Chaff-Based CMIX for Solving Location Privacy Issues in VANETs. Electronics. 10 (11), 1302


Research Institute

Cyber Technology Institute (CTI)