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Cross-Layer Self-Configuration for Secure and Resilient Networking

Researcher: Patrick Tague

Research Area: Next Generation Secure and Available Networks

Cross Cutting Thrusts: Next Generation Threat Prediction and Response


Wireless mesh and ad hoc networks are now being proposed for a number of critical data collection and dissemination scenarios, including traditional data and content systems as well as cyber-physical infrastructure (e.g., Smart Grid, Internet of Things). Wireless meshes offer additional resilience in the form of path redundancy and diversity, providing stronger protections against network failure or denial-of-service. This resilience therefore enables support for unique applications and capabilities for emergency/disaster communication, underserved areas, or to provide cellular offload. In many of these scenarios, timely delivery of data and control messages can be as critical as the messages themselves, so traditional security mechanisms are insufficient. We thus approach the problem from the network perspective, aiming to provide fast and efficient self-organizing, self-healing, and self-reconfiguring capabilities to allow wireless systems to seamlessly manage and heal themselves. Moreover, we are developing an integrated architecture for heterogeneous mesh protocols and mesh nodes to form one unified mesh system to seamlessly support a wide variety of applications and usage scenarios, even in the face of mobility, malicious and selfish behavior, or strong (and potentially dynamic) policies on security, privacy, and anonymity. In this new architecture, we are investigating a variety of threats and issues in an effort to design a suite of protocols to provide end-to-end resilience and security. Our approaches rely on cross-layer information sharing to provide efficient and scalable solutions.

Outcomes: Using seed funding from Northrop Grumman, we have developed a number of attack detection capabilities and network self-reorganization methods for active/proactive defense.