Researcher: Adrian Perrig
Secure Routing in Sensor Networks
Today, wireless sensor networks are in use for a wide variety of applications: ocean and wildlife monitoring, earthquake monitoring, manufacturing, building safety monitoring, and many military applications. An even wider spectrum of future applications can be envisioned, such as real-time traffic monitoring, pollution tracking, home surveillance, fire and people sensors in buildings and other smart environments, wildfire tracking, water quality sensors, and continuous heart-rate monitoring. A major benefit of these systems is that they can perform in-network processing to reduce large streams of raw data into useful aggregated information. It is critical to protect this information. It is also exciting to realize that since wireless sensor networks are in their infancy we have the opportunity to design security into the systems from the beginning. This is not an easy problem and many challenges exist.
Sensor networks pose unique new challenges, resisting direct application of traditional security techniques. First, to make sensor networks economically viable, sensor devices are very limited in their energy, computation, and communication capabilities. Second, in contrast to traditional networks, sensor nodes are often deployed in physically accessible areas, presenting a risk of physical attacks. Third, sensor networks interact closely with their physical environment, posing new security problems.
Researchers have proposed different approaches to provide efficient routing for point-to-point communication. However, these previous works on sensor network routing assume a trusted environment, where all sensor nodes cooperate and no attacker is present. Securing the routing protocol is one of the most essential protocols to secure. A single compromised sensor node could otherwise completely paralyze communication in a sensor network using a standard routing protocol. So far, little work has been done in secure sensor network routing protocols.
Secure Routing Current routing protocols suffer from many security vulnerabilities. For example, an attacker can easily perform denial-of-service attacks on the routing protocol, often preventing communication. The simplest attacks consist in injecting malicious routing information into the network that results in routing inconsistencies. Simple authentication can guard against such injection attacks, but some routing protocols are even susceptible to replay of legitimate routing messages by the attacker.
We plan to investigate systematically how to secure different types of routing protocols in sensor networks. Different applications require different types of routing protocols, and different types of routing protocols have different attacks and weaknesses that require different security mechanisms. We will study how to efficiently secure spanning-tree-like node to- base-station routing protocols, directed diffusion protocols, geographic routing protocols, and cluster-based routing protocols. We will design routing protocols secure against the following attacks: