Security and Threats of Intelligent Reflecting Surface Assisted Wireless Communications

Tang H., Sarp S., Zhao Y., Wang W., Xin C.

31st International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks, ICCCN 2022, Virtual, Online, United States Of America, 25 - 27 July 2022, vol.2022-July identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 2022-July
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/icccn54977.2022.9868867
  • City: Virtual, Online
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Keywords: 5G, Intelligent reflecting surfaces, IRS, next-generation wireless networks, security
  • Yozgat Bozok University Affiliated: No


Intelligent Reflecting Surface (IRS) has been demonstrated as a promising and innovative technology for next-generation wireless communications. It can be utilized to flexibly re-configure the fundamental communication environment to realize low-cost, energy-saving, and low-interference wireless communications. On the other hand, malicious users may also utilize the powerful capability of the IRS to re-configure the communication environment to achieve an advantageous position to launch security attacks such as eavesdropping and jamming wireless networks. Therefore, while the integration of IRS into wireless communications brings promising new opportunities, it also raises significant concerns from the security perspective. This issue has not been thoroughly studied in the literature. In this paper, we first introduce the recent works of using IRS in wireless communications by grouping them into two categories: 1) securing communication via IRS and 2) launching attacks using IRS. We then derive a critical performance metric, the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR), for evaluating IRS-assisted wireless communication systems. Next, we present four typical scenarios of utilizing IRS for security or threats to wireless communications. At last, we evaluate the IRS-assisted system with regard to the SNR performance affected by the IRS in those four scenarios toward a deeper understanding of the potential of IRS-assisted wireless communication systems in terms of security and threats.