Application of Electrical Network Frequency as an Entropy Generator in Distributed Systems

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Applied Computing


The development of public information technology (IT) infrastructures using modern edge devices has revolutionized the smart city ecosystem. As the number of devices in the ecosystem exponentially increases, the power grid infrastructure has continued to function as the backbone of smart cities and support the growing requirements for electricity, such as multimedia services. Media authentication technology leveraging the power system frequency, the Electrical Network Frequency (ENF) signal, has gained traction as an environmental fingerprint to counteract visual layer attacks targeted toward multimedia-based edge devices. Due to the unique and similar fluctuation patterns throughout the grid, the ENF signal is reliable in applications like multimedia synchronization, authentication, and source identification. ENF -based systems are inevitably targeted by perpetrators to bypass their detection schemes; however, such attacks are successful only if the ENF fingerprint can be pre-dicted. In this work, we studied the randomization nature of ENF signals and the societal impacts on its fluctuation patterns due to power grid consumption. Leveraging the ENF signal fluctuations, we integrate ENF as a source of randomness for the Random Bit Generator (RBG) system in cryptographic applications. An RBG-based encrypted communication and committee election mechanism is proposed for an enhanced distribution multimedia system. The paper further discusses the potential applications of the ENF -based randomness generator.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the IEEE National Aerospace Electronics Conference, NAECON