Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor's Name

Kia Makki

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Kang K. Yen

Advisor's Title

Committee Co-Chair

Advisor's Name

Niki Pissinou

Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Advisor's Name

Shih-Ming Lee

Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Keywords

sensor networks, security, node compromise, secure routing, key management, attack

Date of Defense

11-15-2007

Abstract

Recent advances in electronic and computer technologies lead to wide-spread deployment of wireless sensor networks (WSNs). WSNs have wide range applications, including military sensing and tracking, environment monitoring, smart environments, etc. Many WSNs have mission-critical tasks, such as military applications. Thus, the security issues in WSNs are kept in the foreground among research areas. Compared with other wireless networks, such as ad hoc, and cellular networks, security in WSNs is more complicated due to the constrained capabilities of sensor nodes and the properties of the deployment, such as large scale, hostile environment, etc. Security issues mainly come from attacks. In general, the attacks in WSNs can be classified as external attacks and internal attacks. In an external attack, the attacking node is not an authorized participant of the sensor network. Cryptography and other security methods can prevent some of external attacks. However, node compromise, the major and unique problem that leads to internal attacks, will eliminate all the efforts to prevent attacks. Knowing the probability of node compromise will help systems to detect and defend against it. Although there are some approaches that can be used to detect and defend against node compromise, few of them have the ability to estimate the probability of node compromise.

Hence, we develop basic uniform, basic gradient, intelligent uniform and intelligent gradient models for node compromise distribution in order to adapt to different application environments by using probability theory. These models allow systems to estimate the probability of node compromise. Applying these models in system security designs can improve system security and decrease the overheads nearly in every security area. Moreover, based on these models, we design a novel secure routing algorithm to defend against the routing security issue that comes from the nodes that have already been compromised but have not been detected by the node compromise detecting mechanism. The routing paths in our algorithm detour those nodes which have already been detected as compromised nodes or have larger probabilities of being compromised. Simulation results show that our algorithm is effective to protect routing paths from node compromise whether detected or not.

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