Wireless Sensor Network Security

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have attracted a lot of interest due to the range of applications they enable. Unfortunately, WSNs are exposed to numerous security threats that can adversely affect the success of important applications. Securing WSNs is challenging due to their unique nature as an application and a network, and due to their limited capabilities.

In this work we first argue that the WSN security research generally considers mechanisms that are modeled after and evaluated against abstract applications and WSN organizations. Instead, we propose that an effective security solution for WSNs must be sensitive to the application and infrastructure. We propose an application-specific security context as the combination of a potential attacker’s motivation and the WSN vulnerability. We further argue that WSN design must balance traditional objectives such as energy efficiency, cost and application level performance with security to a degree proportional to the attacker’s motivation.

Following the general classification, we focus on a particular type of security threat to WSNs - Timing Analysis (TA) based attacks. Attackers use TA to study the transmission patterns of different nodes in a network with the goal of extracting information about users, application, or the structure of the network, even when the traffic is encrypted. We introduce a Timing Analysis Resilient Protocol (TARP), a traffic mixing approach to defeat TA based attacks. We then propose mechanisms to reduce the overhead of TA resilience.

Related Publications:

  1. Bullet 2009

  1. i. Adnan Majeed, K. Liu, N.B. Abu-Ghazaleh, TARP: Timing Analysis Resilient Protocol for Wireless Sensor Networks, 5th International Conference on Wireless and Mobile Computing, Networking and Communications (WiMob)

  1. Bullet 2007

  1. i. E. Sabbah, K.D. Kang, N.B. Abu-Ghazaleh, Adnan Majeed, K. Liu, An Application Driven Perspective on Sensor Network Security, Wiley Wireless Communication and Mobile Computer Journal

  1. ii. M.S. Thesis: TARMAC - Timing Analysis Resilient MAC Protocol

  1. Bullet 2006

  1. i. E. Sabbah, Adnan Majeed, K.D. Kang, K. Liu, N.B. Abu-Ghazaleh, An Application Driven Perspective on Wireless Sensor Network Security, ACM International Workshop on QOS and Security in Wireless Networks (Q2SWINET), held with MSWiM