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Wireless Sensor Network Security
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In past years, the wireless sensor network (WSN) has been used in different many application areas of controlling, tracking and monitoring. The application of the wireless sensor network (WSN) has been broad, but the major concern is security as it is regarded as the essential requirement. Despite that, security solutions in wireless sensor network (WSN) do differ from the traditional networks because of the resource limitation and the related computational constraints. The paper takes a focus on analyzing the wireless sensor network (WSN) security by discussing some of the security solutions such as the TinySec, IEEE 802.15.4, LSec, SPINS, MiniSEC, LISA, and the LISP. Furthermore, the paper will provide a description of the wireless sensor network (WSN) characteristics, the network security requirements, possible attacks, and the mitigation of the attacks, and thus the documented being useful to the security designers in the wireless sensor network (WSN).
The development of sensor has lead to realization and designing of the low-cost sensor architectures which has greatly made the wireless sensor networks (WSNs) to gain the popularity and be an area of interest for research. The wireless sensor networks are constituted by the large number of the so referred to low-power and low-cost sensors that have some limited operation and storage capacity, the descriptive short-range transmitters that are spatially distributed in an unreliable and inaccessible area of operation. The each node of the application has the capability to do some calculation, able to detect and even communicate (Chong & Kumar, 2003). The nodes of the sensors are distributed randomly whereby they can observe and recognize each other and perform some tasks within a wide area of coordinating, communicating and working together as a system. The wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have the depicted properties that have got them to have a wide range of area of application. The wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is broadly applied in the fields of military operations by delivering the health care and the detectors of the forests fires just as a mention of the many applications. The wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is facing a wide range of security vulnerabilities and threats because of the resource i.e. hardware limitations necessary for the sensor nodes, real-time processing needs, poor and unreliable wireless communication environment. Also, the network heterogenic structure, existence of a large number of nodes and cost (Kavitha & Sridharan, 2010). Therefore, the study provides a detailed, summarized and well-analyzed security solution in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Also, the study will provide an understanding of the security requirements, possible threats and attacks and the applied ways of mitigation.
The wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are applied in some very sensitive areas such as the military systems and the medical monitoring systems as far as security is concerned. Despite the availability of the traditional security mechanism applied in networks, the techniques can be applied in the wireless sensor networks (WSNs). The application of the traditional mechanisms is limited because of the unavailability of resources for the sensor nodes. Therefore, the designing of the security mechanisms for the wireless sensor networks (WSNs) should get done in consideration of the limited resources for the networks and the malicious sensors. The security requirements include the data confidentiality, data integrity, data authentication and availability and data freshness (Meghdadi, Özdemir & Güler, 2008).
Data confidentiality in the wireless sensor networks impedes the accessibility of the unauthorized people to get access and retrieve data. It is one of the most security crucial requirements in the sensitive wireless sensor networks applications. In this case, the sensor node should never at any time depend on the data that is derived from the near environment as the data collected may be that sensitive. Subsequently, in the numerous applications, the wireless sensor networks nodes will be required to transmit highly sensitive data to other network sensor nodes by the use of the wireless transmission environment. The communication between the nodes can be accomplished through the routing of data. The routing process required the data to get protected against the malicious nodes and kept secret since the data can get compromised and hence reducing the performance of the network that will fail to deliver the designed function. Therefore, it is a requirement to have the establishment of secure and safe communication link though the channel is vital. Encryption of the data within the wireless sensor networks with a secret key is the only way possible solution as it featured with low energy consumption, and encryption algorithms that use and depend on the secret key substructure.
Data confidentiality is useful in preventing the taking hold of the data by malicious nodes within the wireless sensor networks. However, the security requirement cannot typical prevent the unauthorized persons from altering the data. Data integrity comes in to make sure that the messages transmitted, and available data within the wireless sensor networks is never altered nor compromised during communication. By example, a malignant node can be the cause of the network not to function well by disrupting the message. Subsequently, during the transmission within the wireless sensor networks, the messages can get disrupted even in the absence of a malicious node. Therefore, it is necessary to make use of the message authentication codes and the cyclic codes to provide and maintain the wireless sensor networks data integrity.
Data authentication is also a basic requirement for the security provision within the wireless sensor networks. The wireless sensor networks use the wireless public environment. Thus, they require authentication mechanisms filter the messages and the deceptive packets that originate from the malicious nodes. Data authentication mechanisms do help a wireless sensor networks node to validate and verify the identity of a network node. The absence authentication gets a malicious node to behave in the manner that it is another node, and this may result in the malicious code infecting the sensitive data and thus compromising the operations of the other wireless sensor networks nodes. The authentication can be acquired through the symmetric key cryptography. Also, the transmitter and receiver can do the validation and verification of all the messages being sent using a common secret key.
In the wireless sensor networks structures, the sensors send measurement data that takes the environment in which they exist through some specific time intervals. However, the most important thing is the accurate delivery of the measurement times. An attacker can retransmit the old copy of measurement data values. Thus, it is essential that one check of the measurement data if it’s new. In this case, a counter can be doped to the message packet during encryption to monitor and retain the data freshness.
Availability defines the capability of the wireless sensor networks sustaining the service continuity even during attacks especially the denial-of-service (DoS) attacks (Raymond, & Midkiff, 2008). Besides the denial of service attacks, the other related actions that may affect the system availability may include the excessive communication or the calculation load that may run out of the battery of the wireless sensor networks node faster than expected. The consequences are the failure to providing the availability of the wireless sensor networks. Designing and coming up with a detective and defense unit is appropriate for providing and guaranteeing wireless sensor networks availability.
The most identified wireless sensor networks attacks can be categorized as follows (Wang, Attebury & Ramamurthy, );
Denial of service
The denial of service (DoS) is an event that claims to diminish or cut off the network’s capacity of performing the expected function. The attack is leveraged through the techniques of jamming, tampering, collisions, exhaustion, horming, spoofing, black holes, neglect and greed, unfairness, flooding, and de-synchronization.
The Sybil attacks are described as the presence of the malicious device illegally taking on multiple identities. The Sybil attacks do pose the significant threats to the geographical routing protocols. They may involve the voting and data aggregation at the data link layer.
The wormhole attack allows the intruder/ attacker to gets the packets at one point in the wireless sensor network and redirects the packets to another, location in the network, and after which it replays the packets into the same wireless sensor network from that point.
The attack is launched by getting the protocols utilizing the hello packets with a naive assumption that receiving the hello packets tells the sender is a neighbor. The attacker uses a high-powered transmitter to deceive specifically a large area of nodes within the network into believing that they are neighbors of that transmitting node. The use of Cryptography is the recommended solution to the hello floods attacks
The attacks intents at attracting almost all the network traffic from a given area by using a compromised node which creates a metaphorical sinkhole with the enemy nodes at the center. The Sinkhole attacks work by getting a compromised node to appear attractive to the neighboring nodes during the routing
An attacker launches new connection requests that are done over and over until the network resources required by the each launched connection are depleted. Solution against the flooding is the requirement that each connecting client gets the evidence to its dedication to the launched.
The mode of attack that adversely and repetitively pushes the messages that convey sequence numbers. This requires the authentication of all packets that are communicated between.
Security Protocols in WSN
The security protocols are established and implemented at the wireless sensor networks nodes to make sure that the attacks at the different layers of the OSI layers are curbed. Thus, they are the possible countermeasures to the attacks.
The TinySec protocol was designed for the data link layer security architecture by the University of Berkeley. The design of the protocol was based on the ease of using and the minimal load that can be brought on the sensor network. The TinySec supports the security options of data encryption alongside the identity authentication and the specific authentication. The implementation of the identity authentication encryption is achieved through the encryption of the data using the identity authentication code (MAC) that is doped onto the data. In specific authentication, data is not encrypted at all. Instead, only authentication is done to the data package with the aid of an MAC. Encryption of the messages is done using the Skipjack block encryption, code block chaining (CBC) and an 8-bit initialization vector (IV) techniques.
LISA is described with the security solutions to semantic security that describes the encryption of the same data but in different ways. The identity authentication to ensure data is received or sends from the right node. The protocol also protects against the replay attacks and also facilitates data refreshes.
The IEEE 802.15.4 protocol defines the medium access and physical layers specifically for the wireless private area networks (WPANs). The protocol is used in WSNs because of its low cost, low power consumption, and flexibility. The protocol operates on the Micaz, TelosB nodes. It uses the ZigBee strong encryption AES-128 to provide freshness.
The SPINS protocol was also designed by the Berkeley University. Eth protocol consists of the μTESLA protocol which is used in the identity authentication broadcasting. The SNEP protocol was designed to deliver the functionalities of
Semantic security which prevents the attacker listening to the network from obtaining any information/ data that relates to the plaintext that has been encrypted even if duplication of the plain text is used.
The identity authentication which enables the receiving node to validate and verify the identity of the data sender using an MAC address
The recursion protection that prevents the resending of the old messages thus guaranteeing data freshness
The low communication overhead that keeps the counter on receiver and sender
The μTESLA protocol does give the logic of asymmetry to the identity authentication with the aid of symmetric methods.
LISP protocol provides the security solutions in large-scale wireless sensor networks that constitute a large number of nodes that have limited resources. The technique is advantageous because it is applied to provide an effective key broadcasting that does not require the sending of the ACKs. Subsequently, the protocol deliveries the protection without the adding the created check bits to the data message. The protocol is used for recovering of the lost keys and also refreshes the key without the data encryption and decryption.
The LISP protocol is applied for protecting the critical/ sensitive information by ensuring data integrity through preventing tampering with data during transmission. Provides the access control by regulating the inputs in the wireless sensor networks and also the Key refreshing mechanism does provide protection against wireless sensor networks nodes that may jeopardize the wireless sensor networks.
LSec protocol grants the data access authentication and authorization using the simple key exchange scheme. The rule also provides protection mechanisms against the data confidentiality and breaches which are attacks in the sensor networks.
LLSP protocol does provide the minimum cost identity authentication, semantic security and data integrity by the use of the symmetric security algorithms. The key mechanism determines the key management related issues in the WSNs.
The wireless sensor networks are adversely being used, and the research in eth filed should get too deeply examine the security aspect. Ideally, when designing and implementing a security approach, the designer should consider some capacities of resources such as the memory, processor, and power supply of the wireless sensor nodes. It is anticipated that the additional encryption mechanisms get to increase security in the wireless security network (WSN) applications. The additions get to increases the node power consumption amounts and the network average end-to-end delay times.
Chong, C. Y. & Kumar, S. P. (2003). Sensor networks: evolution, opportunities, and challenges, Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 91, no. 8, pp. 1247–1256.
Kavitha, T. & Sridharan, D. (2010). “Security vulnerabilities in wireless sensor networks: a survey,” Journal of Information Assurance and Security, vol. 5, pp. 31–44.
Meghdadi, M., Özdemir, S. &Güler, I. (2008). “Security in wireless sensor networks: problems and solutions,” International Journal of Information Technologies, vol. 1, pp. 35–40.
Raymond, D. R. & Midkiff, S. F. (2008). “Denial-of-service in wireless sensor networks: attacks and defenses,” IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 74–81.
Wang, Y., Attebury, G. & Ramamurthy, B. (2006).“A survey of security issues in wireless sensor networks,” IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 2–22.
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