A Formal Analysis of 5G Authentication

David Basin, Jannik Dreier, Lucca Hirschi, Saša Radomirović, Ralf Sasse, Vincent Stettler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

240 Citations (Scopus)
282 Downloads (Pure)


Mobile communication networks connect much of the world’s population. The security of users’ calls, SMSs, and mobile data depends on the guarantees provided by the Authenticated Key Exchange protocols used. For the next-generation network (5G), the 3GPP group has standardized the 5G AKA protocol for this purpose. We provide the first comprehensive formal model of a protocol from the AKA family: 5G AKA. We also extract precise requirements from the 3GPP standards defining 5G and we identify missing security goals. Using the security protocol verification tool Tamarin, we conduct a full, systematic, security evaluation of the model with respect to the 5G security goals. Our automated analysis identifies the minimal security assumptions required for each security goal and we find that some critical security goals are not met, except under additional assumptions missing from the standard. Finally, we make explicit recommendations with provably secure fixes for the attacks and weaknesses we found.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication25th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-5693-0
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2018


  • 5G standard
  • AKA protocol
  • Authentication protocols
  • Formal analysis
  • Symbolic verification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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