Call for Paper

Feature Topic, Vol. 21, No. 9, 2024--Intelligent Covert Communication

Intelligent Covert Communication

As an ever-increasing amount of private and confidential information will be delivered over current and future wireless networks, the openness and broadcast natures of the ubiquitous wireless medium are bring concerns and security risks to our society. Specifically, in some certain scenarios that require a high level of security and privacy, such as health care or finial activities, the initial exposure of transmitted information can lead to unpredictable threats and losses. Consequently, covert communication, also known as low probability of detection (LPD) communication, has recently attracted increasing attentions in academic and industry, due to its special advantage of hiding the wireless transmission behaviors. Based on some preliminary research results using information theory, covert communication has been proven to be able to achieve information transmission covertly, i.e., subject to a negligible probability of being detected by a warden. This leads to various covert transmission strategies with established confidence limits. Unlike traditional upper-layer encryption techniques, covert communications are not conditioned on the limited information processing and computing capabilities of the eavesdropper/warden. Covert communication is able to protect the fundamental and extensive range of legitimate communications.


In the development of fundamental theories on covert communications, the square root law established the theoretical bounds on covert transmission, which revealed the limit on the covert transmission rate. Following this result, diverse approaches have been developed to effectively facilitate covert communication by exploiting uncertainties in noise, channel, interference power and the timing of information transmission. Apart from the above, researchers are introducing other assisted schemes using relays, cooperative jammers, full-duplex receivers, and intelligent reflective surfaces (IRS) to enhance covert communication performance. However, there are still challenging issues in practical applications of the existing covert transmission methods and strategies. Current studies generally consider the optimal detection performance from the perspective of the eavesdropper/warden, but in fact, due to unknown factors, such as the uncertainty on the eavesdropper/warden's location, the unavailability of channel state information (CSI), and the requirement of real-time detection, the true covert communication performance is not available to the legitimate users or system designers, which leads to that covert communication may still not be achievable in practical scenarios and its performance cannot be measured completely and accurately.


Therefore, intelligent covert communication, i.e., the use of intelligent methods to achieve covert communication, becomes a promising direction for achieving communication covertness in practical applications. For example, owning to the signi?cant advances in machine learning (ML), the determination of CSI from a wireless link’s surrounding environment becomes feasible. In particular, the mapping function can be well mimicked by some model ?tting adopted in ML. These models can be trained accurately with a large amount of real data samples to extract useful environmental information. In certain covert communication scenarios, ML methods can be applied to the covert transmitter/collaborator side, for the sake of estimating channel information without explicit feedback/detection, which helps to achieve signal intensification or cancellation, and thus enables a more practical scheme for achieving covert transmission.


The main goal of this special issue is to attract academic and industrial researchers in an effort to identify and discuss the major technical challenges, recent breakthroughs, and new applications related to intelligent covert communications.


Topics include (but not limited to):

● Fundamental theory of intelligent covert communication

● Intelligence algorithm design for covert communication

● Intelligent covert communication for cognitive radio networks

● Intelligent covert communication for satellite communication systems

● Intelligent covert communication in IoT networks

● Intelligent covert communication for UAV systems

● Intelligent covert communication for multicast and unicast systems

● NOMA technology enabled intelligent covert communication

● Millimeter-wave based intelligent covert communication

● Multi-antenna and beamforming design for intelligent covert communication

● Blockchain assisted intelligence covert communication

● Intelligent reflecting surface technique assisted covert transmission

● Full-duplex receiver enabled intelligent covert communication  

● Cooperation schemes design for intelligent covert communication

● Covert scheme against high-performance eavesdroppers and wardens

● Symbiotic communication enabled covert transmission

● Backscattering technique assisted covert communication

● Hardware implementation of intelligent covert communication



Submission Deadline: December 31, 2023

Acceptance Notification (1st round): January 25, 2024

Minor Revision Due: February 28, 2024

Final Decision Due: March 31, 2024

Final Manuscript Due: April 25, 2024

Publication Date: 15 September, 2024


Guest editors

Zan Li, Xidian University, China

Rahim Tafazolli, University of Surrey, UK

Pei Xiao, University of Surrey, UK

Jiangbo Si, Xidian University, China

Shihao Yan, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Qiang Ni, Lancaster University, UK


Submission guidelines 

This feature topic “Intelligent Covert Communication” seeks for original, UNPUBLISHED research papers reporting substantive new work in various aspects of topics above. Papers MUST clearly indicate your contributions to the topic field and properly cite related work in this field.


Papers should be submitted in two separate .doc files (preferred) or .pdf files: 1) Main Document (including paper title, abstract, key words, and full text); 2) Title page (including paper title, author affiliation, acknowledgement and any other information related with the authors’ identification) through the Manuscript Central. Please register or login at, then go to the author center and follow the instructions there. Remember to select Intelligent Covert Communication--September Issue 2024 as your manuscript type when submitting; otherwise, it might be considered as a regular paper.


Each submission must be accompanied by the following information:

● an abstract of no more than 150 words

● 3-8 keywords

● original photographs with high-resolution (300 dpi or greater); eps. ortif. format is preferred; sequentially numbered references.

● sequentially numbered references. The basic reference format is: author name, “article name”, issue name (italic), vol., no., page, month, year. for example: Y. M. Huang, “peradventure in wireless heterogeneous…”, IEEE Journal on Selected Areas, vol. 27, no. 5, pp 34-50, May, 2009.

● brief biographies of authors (50-75 words)

● contact information, including email and mailing addresses

Pubdate: 2022-11-24    Viewed: 2416