Defence against PUE attacks in ad hoc cognitive radio networks: a
mean ﬁeld game approach
Saim Bin Abdul Khaliq
· Muhammad Faisal Amjad
· Haider Abbas
· Narmeen Shafqat
· Hammad Afzal
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Cognitive Radio (CR) is an emerging and promising communication technology geared towards improving vacant licensed
band utilization, intended for unlicensed users. Security of Cognitive Radio Networks (CRN) is a highly challenging domain.
At present, plenty of efforts are in place for deﬁning new paradigms, techniques and technologies to secure radio spectrum.
In a distributed cognitive radio ad-hoc network, despite dynamically changing topologies, lack of central administration,
bandwidth-constraints and shared wireless connections, the nodes are capable of sensing the spectrum and selecting the
appropriate channels for communication. These unique characteristics unlock new paths for attackers. Standard security
techniques are not an effective shield against attacks on these networks e.g. Primary User Emulation (PUE) attacks. The paper
presents a novel PUE attack detection technique based on energy detection and location veriﬁcation. Next, a game model
and a mean ﬁeld game approach are introduced for the legitimate nodes of CRN to reach strategic defence decisions in the
presence of multiple attackers. Simulation of the proposed technique shows a detection accuracy of 89% when the probability
of false alarm is 0.09. This makes it 1.32 times more accurate than compared work. Furthermore, the proposed framework
for defence is state considerate in making decisions.
Keywords Primary user emulation (PUE) attack · Game theory · Cognitive Radio Network (CRN)
Due to rapid growth in wireless industry there is an immense
scarcity of wireless spectrum availability. The core reason of
this is the static allocation of spectrum for legacy systems.
There are several cases mostly below 3 GHz, where numer-
ous spectrum allocations are made for multiple frequency
bands, resulting in a severe competition for reliable access to
spectrum resources .
Muhammad Faisal Amjad
Saim Bin Abdul Khaliq
National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad,
Contrary to this, large portions of spectrum are detected
sporadically utilized. Mostly, the issue of underutilization or
in-occupancy is present in licensed spectrum which is occu-
pied by licensed transmitters.
To cater the scarcity or underutilization issue of spectrum
there was a requirement of an approach in which unlicensed
users are able to access the licensed spectrum when it is unoc-
cupied by its rightful licensed users. This approach is termed
as Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) . CR nodes have
capability of dynamic spectrum sensing to detect the unoc-
cupied licensed band called white spaces. White spaces have
no radio interference, only white Gaussian noise. Secondary
CR nodes use these white spaces opportunistically without
interfering primary users in the network . DSA technology
was also welcomed by Federal Communications Commis-
sion (FCC), enabling secondary users to access underutilized
TV broadcasting spectrum.
1.1 Primary user emulation attack
The core problem behind spectrum sensing is precisely dis-
tinguishing Primary User (PU) signal from Secondary Users