MASc Seminar Notice - vProfile: Voltage-Based Sender Identification on Controller Area Networks

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 3:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Candidate: Nathan Liu

Title: vProfile: Voltage-Based Sender Identification on Controller Area Networks


Date: August 10, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Place: Remote

Supervisor(s): Fischmeister, Sebastian



Modern vehicles are becoming more accessible targets for cyberattacks due to the proliferation of wireless communication channels. The intra-vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) bus lacks sender authentication, exposing critical components to interference from less secure, wirelessly compromised modules.


To address CAN's vulnerability, this thesis proposes vProfile, a sender identification system based on voltage fingerprints of electronic control units (ECU). vProfile exploits the physical properties of ECU output voltages on the CAN bus to determine the authenticity of bus messages, which enables the detection of both hijacked ECUs and external devices connected to the bus. We show the potential of vProfile using experiments on two production vehicles with precision and recall scores of over 99.99%. We also show the impact of temperature and battery voltage variations on vProfile and provide a method to adapt to those changes.

The improved identification rates and more straightforward design of vProfile make it an attractive improvement over existing methods.