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Security Issues In Sensor Networks. By Priya Palanivelu. What Is A Sensor Network ?. A network is formed when a set of small sensor devices that are deployed in an ad hoc fashion cooperate for sensing a physical phenomenon. Typical application of sensor networks.

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Presentation Transcript
what is a sensor network
What Is A Sensor Network?
  • A network is formed when a set of small sensor devices that are deployed in an ad hoc fashion cooperate for sensing a physical phenomenon.
typical application of sensor networks
Typical application of sensor networks
  • Military sensor networks to detect enemy movements, the presence of hazardous material (such as poison gases or radiation, explosions, etc.)
  • Environmental sensor networks (such as in plains or deserts or on mountains or ocean surfaces) to detect and monitor environmental changes.
  • Wireless traffic sensor networks to monitor vehicle traffic on a highway or in a congested part of a city.
  • Wireless surveillance sensor networks for providing security in a shopping mall, parking garage, or other facility.
communication architecture
Communication Architecture
  • The sensor nodes communicate using RF
  • The sensor nodes establish a routing forest, with a base station at the root of every tree
  • Periodic transmission of beacons allows nodes to create a routing topology.
  • The base station accesses individual nodes using source routing.
challenges of sensor network
Challenges Of Sensor Network
  • Energy consumption primarily
    • By radio communication
    • Need to minimize communication overhead
  • Reliance on asymmetric digital signature
    • Long signatures with high communication overhead of 50-1000 bytes per packet
    • Very high overhead to create & verify signature

“Symmetric broadcast authentication is impractical

requirements for sensor networks security
Requirements for sensor networks security
  • Data Confidentiality
    • From the observed communication pattern set up secure channels between nodes and base stations
  • Data Authentication
    • Construct authenticated broadcast from symmetric primitives only
    • Introduce asymmetry with delayed key disclosure and one way function key chains
  • Data Integrity
  • Data Freshness
    • Recent data
    • No replay of data
communication pattern of the sensor network
Communication Pattern Of The Sensor Network
  • 1) Node to base station communication, e.g. sensor readings.
  • 2) Base station to node communication, e.g. specific requests.
  • 3) Base station to all nodes, e.g. routing beacons, queries or reprogramming of the entire network.

SPINS: Security Protocols for Sensor Networks

security building blocks optimized for source constrained

environments and wireless communication.




Timed, Efficient, Streaming, Loss-tolerant Authentication


Secure Network Encryption


important baseline security primitives
Important Baseline Security Primitives
  • SNEP  Data confidentiality, two-party data authentication, and data freshness
  • µTESLA new protocol which provides authenticated broadcast for severely resource-constrained environments.
snep data confidentiality authentication integrity and freshness
SNEP: Data Confidentiality, Authentication, Integrity, and Freshness
  • Low communication overhead
  • Adds only 8 bytes per message
  • Uses counter
  • Counter value is kept at both end points
  • Provides semantic security
    • Prevents eavesdroppers from interfering the message content from the encrypted message
  • Data authentication, replay protection, and weak/strong message freshness
snep mechanism
  • Communicating parties share a counter, which is used as an Initialization Vector (IV)
  • Counter is not sent with the message
  • Block ciphers are in Counter Mode (CTR)
  • Counter incremented after each block
  • MAC used to achieve 2 party data authentication and data integrity
  • Counter value is never repeated
  • Counter value in MAC prevents replay attacks
tesla vs tesla
    • Authenticates initial packet with a digital signature
    • Too expensive for sensor nodes
    • Disclosing a key in each packet requires too much energy(24bytes/packet)
    • Expensive to store one-way key chain
  • µTESLA
    • Uses symmetric mechanism
    • Discloses key once every epoch
    • Restricts number of authenticated senders
tesla overview
µTESLA Overview
  • Base station (BS) broadcasts authenticated information to nodes
  • BS and nodes are loosely time synchronized
  • Each node knows the upper bound on max. synchronization error
  • BS computes a MAC on the packet
  • The key is secret at this point
  • Sensor receives the packet & stores it in buffer
  • BS broadcasts the verification key to all receivers
  • Node verifies the authenticity of the key
  • Node uses key to authenticate the packet in the buffer