Skip to main content

Battery Depletion Attacks on NB-IoT Devices Using Interference

  • 426 Accesses

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNSC,volume 13106)


Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a relatively new Low PowerWide Area Network (LPWAN) technology used to implement large-scale IoT applications. The economic viability of most applications depends on a long battery life of deployed devices (\(\tilde{1}0\) years). In this paper, we document two interference attacks on the NB-IoT communication link that lead to a battery depletion in devices. These attacks can be carried out without disruption of data delivery and are therefore hard to detect. We describe a Matlab based simulation environment that can be used to investigate interference on NB-IoT communication, and we then use this environment to study the two attacks. For example, we show that battery lifetime can be reduced from 17 years to as low as four months.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-95484-0_17
  • Chapter length: 20 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   64.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-95484-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 6.
Fig. 7.


  1. 3GPP: 3GPP release 16.

  2. 3GPP: Evolved universal terrestrial radio access (E-UTRA); physical layer; measurements.

  3. Adhikary, A., Lin, X., Eric Wang, Y.P.: Performance evaluation of NB-IoT coverage. In: IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference. ISSN 1550-2252 (2016).

  4. Andres-Maldonado, P., Ameigeiras, P., Prados-Garzon, J., Navarro-Ortiz, J., Lopez-Soler, J.M.: Narrowband IoT data transmission procedures for massive machine-type communications. IEEE Network 31(6), 8–15 (2017).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  5. Beyene, Y.D., Jantti, R., Ruttik, K., Iraji, S.: On the performance of narrow-band internet of things (NB-IoT). In: IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, WCNC. ISSN 1525-3511 (2017).

  6. Buttyán, L., Csik, L.: Security analysis of reliable transport layer protocols for wireless sensor networks. In: 2010 8th IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops (PERCOM Workshops), pp. 419–424 (2010).

  7. Cao, X., Shila, D.M., Cheng, Y., Yang, Z., Zhou, Y., Chen, J.: Ghost-in-ZigBee: energy depletion attack on ZigBee-based wireless networks. IEEE Internet Things J. 3(5), 816–829 (2016).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  8. Chen, M., Miao, Y., Hao, Y., Hwang, K.: Narrow band Internet of Things. IEEE Access 5, 20557–20577 (2017).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  9. Hoglund, A., et al.: 3GPP release-16 preconfigured uplink resources for LTE-M and NB-IoT. IEEE Commun. Stand. Mag. 4(2), 50–56 (2020).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  10. Jover, R.P., Lackey, J., Raghavan, A.: Enhancing the security of LTE networks against jamming attacks. EURASIP J. Inf. Secur. 2014(1), 7 (2014).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  11. Keysight: Downlink channel parameters (NB-IoT).

  12. Krejčí, R., Hujňák, O., Švepeš, M.: Security survey of the IoT wireless protocols. In: 2017 25th Telecommunication Forum (TELFOR). pp. 1–4 (2017).

  13. Liberg, O., Sundberg, M., Wang, Y.P.E., Bergman, J., Sachs, J., Wikström, G.: Cellular Internet of Things: From Massive Deployments to Critical 5G Applications. Academic Press, Cambridge (2020)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Lin, X., Adhikary, A., Eric Wang, Y.P.: Random access preamble design and detection for 3GPP narrowband IoT systems. IEEE Wirel. Commun. Lett. 5(6), 640–643 (2016).,

  15. Martiradonna, S., Piro, G., Boggia, G.: On the evaluation of the NB-IoT random access procedure in monitoring infrastructures. Sensors 19(14), 3237 (2019).,

  16. Matz, A.P., Fernandez-Prieto, J.A., Cañada-Bago, J., Birkel, U.: A systematic analysis of narrowband IoT quality of service. Sensors 20(6), 1636 (2020).,

  17. Mwakwata, C.B., Malik, H., Alam, M.M., Moullec, Y.L., Parand, S., Mumtaz, S.: Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT): from physical (PHY) and media access control (MAC) layers perspectives. Sensors 19(11), 2613 (2019).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  18. Navda, V., Bohra, A., Ganguly, S., Rubenstein, D.: Using channel hopping to increase 802.11 resilience to jamming attacks, pp. 2526–2530 (2007).

  19. Nokia: Nokia siemens network. RF measurements quantities and optimization.

  20. Pielli, C., Chiariotti, F., Laurenti, N., Zanella, A., Zorzi, M.: A game-theoretic analysis of energy-depleting jamming attacks. In: 2017 International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC), pp. 100–104 (2017).

  21. Pirayesh, H., Zeng, H.: Jamming attacks and anti-jamming strategies in wireless networks: A comprehensive survey (2021)

    Google Scholar 

  22. Pirretti, M., Zhu, S., Vijaykrishnan, N., McDaniel, P., Kandemir, M., Brooks, R.: The sleep deprivation attack in sensor networks: analysis and methods of defense. Int. J. Distrib. Sens. Networks 2(3), 267–287 (2006)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  23. Pu, C.: Energy depletion attack against routing protocol in the Internet of Things. In: 2019 16th IEEE Annual Consumer Communications Networking Conference (CCNC), pp. 1–4 (2019).

  24. Shakhov, V.: On a new type of attack in wireless sensor networks: depletion of battery. In: 2016 11th International Forum on Strategic Technology (IFOST), pp. 491–494 (2016).

  25. Torrieri, D.: Frequency hopping with multiple frequency-shift keying and hard decisions. IEEE Trans. Commun. 32, 574–582 (1984).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  26. Vasserman, E.Y., Hopper, N.: Vampire attacks: draining life from wireless ad hoc sensor networks. IEEE Trans. Mob. Comput. 12(2), 318–332 (2013).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  27. Xu, J., Yao, J., Wang, L., Ming, Z., Wu, K., Chen, L.: Narrowband internet of things: evolutions, technologies, and open issues. IEEE Internet Things J. 5(3), 1449–1462 (2018).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references


This publication has emanated from research conducted with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland under Grant number 18/CRT/6222.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Vlad Ionescu .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Ionescu, V., Roedig, U. (2022). Battery Depletion Attacks on NB-IoT Devices Using Interference. In: , et al. Computer Security. ESORICS 2021 International Workshops. ESORICS 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 13106. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-95483-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-95484-0

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)