Cheatsheets for Authentication and Key Agreements in 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G

Prajwol Kumar Nakarmi

Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA) is a type of security protocol, used in 3GPP mobile networks, that provides two security capabilities. The first capability, called authentication, is to cryptographically assert that a mobile phone or a network is indeed who it claims to be, and the second capability, called key agreement, is to put necessary cryptographic keys in place for protection of traffic between the mobile phone and the network. Jointly, these two capabilities lay the foundation of secure 3GPP mobile networks. From 2G-5G, there are eight main versions of AKA, details of which are spread over and embedded deep in multiple technical specifications. It is getting increasingly difficult to quickly check a certain property of a certain AKA, let alone grasp the full picture of all AKAs. Therefore, I have prepared cheatsheets for all AKA versions and listed their main properties. I hope these will benefit university students, security researchers, and 3GPP standardization community. I welcome any corrections and feedback.

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