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2011 Third International Conference on Computational Intelligence, Modelling & Simulation

Overview of Security Issues in Wireless Sensor Networks

Hero Modares
Department of Computer system and technology University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Rosli Salleh
Department of Computer system and technology University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Amirhossein Moravejosharieh
Department of Computer system and technology University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Abstract Wireless sensor networks (WSN) are generally set up for gathering records from insecure environment. Nearly all security protocols for WSN believe that the opponent can achieve entirely control over a sensor node by way of direct physical access. The appearance of sensor networks as one of the main technology in the future has posed various challenges to researchers. Wireless sensor networks are composed of large number of tiny sensor nodes, running separately, and in various cases, with none access to renewable energy resources. In addition, security being fundamental to the acceptance and employ of sensor networks for numerous applications; also different set of challenges in sensor networks are existed. In this paper we will focus on security of Wireless Sensor Network.

II. A.


Keywords- Wireless Sensor Network Attack; Wireless Sensor Network Attacker; Layering-Based Attacks; Security Issues in Wireless Sensor Network; Cryptography in Wireless Sensor Network

I. INTRODUCTION Sensor networks by distributed wireless technology are used in numerous applications. Caused by resource restriction some of WSN applications work without security which decreased Quality of Service (QoS). In WSN, a mass of wireless sensors are linked together via RF communication links. The quality of working properly of the nodes in WSN application consists of comprehension, gathering and distributing information in the network. Energy is a main issue as the sensors are in general tiny. In addition wireless with restricted memory and quality of working properly given the fact that the batteries have a restricted governing power [1]. Different types of DoS attacks can affect a network or node. If attacked node continues to exchange information or ideas with its neighbors and it lead to diminish all its power then the node declares as a dead node which is worst cases [2]. In this paper we will focus on security issues and various layers attacks and feasible security approach.

Attack and Attacker An attack can be an effort to get illegal access to a service, information, or the assay to conciliation integrity, confidentiality, or availability of a system. Attacks are originated by attackers or intruders. WSN Adversary can be: Passive: A person or another entity that only monitors the communication channel which threatens the confidentiality of data. Active: Effort to add, delete or alter the transmission on the cannel which threatens to confidentiality, authentication and data integrity. Insider: Steal key material and run malicious code by compromise some authorized nodes of the network. Outsider: attacker has no particular access to the network. Mote-Class Attacker: Has access to the minority nodes with similar capabilities. Laptop-Class Attackers: they have access to powerful devices such as laptop which has advantages greater than legal nodes, for instance more capable processor, greater battery power and high power antenna [3]. B. Security Principles The security requirements [4, 5] of a wireless sensor network can be classified as follows [6-9]: Data Authentication: Make sure that the data is initiated from the exact source. Data Confidentiality: Make sure that only authorized sensor nodes can get the content of the messages. Data Integrity: Make sure that any received message has not been modified in send by unauthorized parties. Availability: Make sure that services offered by WSN or by a single node must be available whenever necessary. Data Freshness: Make sure that no old data have been replayed.

978-0-7695-4562-2/11 $26.00 2011 IEEE DOI 10.1109/CIMSim.2011.62






A. Physical Layer Jamming is a well-known attack on physical layer of wireless network. Jamming interferes with the radio frequencies being used by the nodes of a network. An attacker sequentially transmits over the wireless network refusing the underlying MAC protocol. Jamming can interrupt the network impressive if a single frequency is used throughout the network. In addition jamming can cause excessive energy consumption at a node by injecting impertinent packets. The receivers nodes will as well consume energy by getting those packets [10]. Xu, Trappe, Zhang and Wood in 2005 proposed [11] four different type of jamming attack that can be used by an attacker to stop the operation of a wireless network. How each model affects on the sending and receiving capability of a wireless node and its impressiveness were evaluated. It was remarked that no single system of measures such as carrier sensing time and signal strength is adequate for reliably detecting the conduct of a jammer, and that using packet delivery cannot recognize whether poor link service was due to the mobility of nodes or jamming while it may be efficacious in mark as different between jammed scenarios and congested. Tampering is another attack on physical layer. In this attack, nodes are vulnerable to tampering or physical harm [12]. In Table 1, describes Physical Layer Threats and Countermeasures in WSN [13].

Collision Exhaustion Spoofing Sybil De-synchronization Traffic analysis Eavesdropping

CRC and Time Diversity Protection of Network ID and other Information that is required to joining device Use different path for re-sending the message Regularly changing of key Using different neighbors for time synchronization Sending of dummy packet in quite hours: and regular monitoring WSN network Key protects DLPDU from Eavesdropper



Interference Jamming Sybil Tampering

Channel hopping and Blacklisting Channel hopping and Blacklisting Physical Protection of devices Protection and Changing of key

B. Data Link Layer Attacks can also be made on the link layer. An attacker may premeditatedly violate the communication protocol, and frequently send messages in an attempt to cause collisions. This type of collisions would need the retransmission of any packet influenced by the collision. By means of this technique it would be possible for an adversary to consume easily a sensor nodes power supply by forcing oversupply retransmissions [5]. In Table 2, describes Data Link Layer Threats and Countermeasures in WSN [13].

C. Network Layer A sensor node may obtain benefit of multi hop using simply refusing to route messages at the network layer. This could be executed frequently or irregularly with the net result being that any neighbor who marks a route through the malevolent node at least will be incapable of exchange messages with, part of the network [5, 14]. Entry by force or without permission in network layer can be grouped into two categories: passive and active attacks. A passive trespass does not interrupt the functioning of the network; but the adversary to discover information, eavesdrops on the traffic flowing across the network without modifying the data. It is very difficult to detect passive attack in view of the fact that a passive attack does not influence the functioning of the network. However, an active attack unlike a passive attack. An active attack drops or modifies message thereby interfering the functioning of the network where both data packets and routing control packets kept by Messages. An attacker can attack routing packets causing a useless routing table at the source. On the other side, an attacker can attack data packets causing imperfect communication, although it assists with other nodes to make legal routes between senders and receivers. For instance Wormhole attacks [15], Blackhole attacks [16], Byzantine attacks [17], DDoS attacks [18] and routing attacks [19, 20] are active attacks. In addition active attacks can be classified based on whether they target the data plane or control plane for example key distribution or routing protocols. To obtain authenticate and integrity of data, encryption schemes and hash functions are usually used. Usually, encryption methods are supported by centralized key management. Moreover a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) is used in public key to make a secure communication between nodes[12]. In Table 3, describes Network Layer Threats and Countermeasures in WSN [13].





Eavesdropping DoS Selective forwarding Sybil Traffic Analysis Wormhole

Session Keys protect NPDU from Eavesdropper. Protection of network specific data link network ID etc. Physical protection and inspection of network. Regular network monitoring using Source Routing. Resetting of device and changing of session keys. Sending of dummy packet in quite hours: and regular monitoring WSN network. Physical monitoring of Field devices and regular monitoring of network using Source Routing. Monitoring system may use packet leach techniques.

and some evaluations evaluate the memory needs as a parameter. Others new discussed architectures try to utilize the different efforts which are needed to run PKC [9]. V. CONCLUSION Routing, QoS provisioning, energy efficiency, security and multicasting are challenges in WSN. As security is not a product, it is a process, system originator should maintain up to-date with the progresses in attacks on embedded systems. The security of significant systems should be continually reassessed to take new detections into account. The level of security needed from the application should also be marked when preferring hardware. At some indefinite time it might reasonable to put up additional protection, for instance a secure place, around a vulnerable microcontroller. REFERENCES
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D. Transport Layer Furthermore the transport layer is vulnerable to attack, as in the case of flooding. Flooding can be something simple such as sending many connection requests to a vulnerable node. In this situation, sender must be allocated to manage the connection request. Eventually a nodes resources will be exhausted, thus rendering the node useless [5]. IV. CRYPTOGRAPHY AND WSN

Wireless sensor networks applications include wildlife, earthquake monitoring, and numerous of military applications. A major benefit of these applications is they execute in network processing. Therefore, it decreases large streams of raw data into useful aggregated information [9, 21]. Wireless sensors are measured as constrained devices. It is due to the limitation of the number of gates, power and bandwidth etc. Like traditional networks, wireless sensors applications require protection against eavesdropping, alteration, and packet injection. In order to achieve this protection, data cryptography can prevent these security issues. Presently, sensor networks are supplied exclusively through symmetric key cryptography. The entire network is under risk if only one of its nodes has to be compromised by using symmetric cryptography. It means that the shared secret among those nodes is exposed. Another approach is to use a shared key between two nodes in the whole network. Then, it removes the network wide key. The disadvantage is additional nodes which cannot be added after the deployment process. In a sensor network with n nodes, each node needs to store (n 1) keys. Keys need to be established in the network. Eventually, a secure key distribution mechanism needs to be achieved as it allows a simple key establishment for large scale sensor networks. The current sensor devices have limited computational power. It makes the implementation of publickey cryptographic primitives and too expensive in terms of system overhead. In order to achieve 80 bit of security in ECC, it needs 160 bit parameters size, and gives the same security level offered by 1024 bit RSA. Langendorfer and Piotrowski mentioned some works which addressed PKC feasibility in WSN by evaluating different parameters [22]. Some evaluations consider the processing time as parameter

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