Experimental Evaluation of Attacks on TESLA-Secured Time Synchronization Protocols

  • Kristof TeichelEmail author
  • Gregor Hildermeier
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11322)


There is an increasingly relevant class of protocols that employ TESLA stream authentication to provide authenticity for one-way time synchronization. For such protocols, an interdependency between synchronization and security has been found to theoretically enable attackers to render the security measures useless. We evaluate to what extent this attack works in practice. To this end, we use a tailor-made configurable testbed implementation to simulate behaviors of TESLA-protected one-way synchronization protocols in hostile networks. In particular, this lets us confirm vulnerabilities to the attack for two published protocols, TinySeRSync and ASTS. Our analysis also yields a set of countermeasures, with which in-development and future specifications can potentially use TESLA to successfully secure one-way time synchronization.


(One-way) time synchronization protocols TESLA Authentication Experimental attack analysis ASTS TinySeRSync 



We would like to express our thanks to Dieter Sibold, for supervising large parts of the work and for valuable input in the creation of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physikalisch-Technische BundesanstaltBraunschweigGermany
  2. 2.Technische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

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