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Document Type



Electrical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Niki Pissinou

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Lance Hester

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Co-Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Jean Andrian

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Kia Makki

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Norman Munroe

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


ad hoc, cooperation, evolutionary, game theory

Date of Defense



Wireless sensor networks are emerging as effective tools in the gathering and dissemination of data. They can be applied in many fields including health, environmental monitoring, home automation and the military. Like all other computing systems it is necessary to include security features, so that security sensitive data traversing the network is protected. However, traditional security techniques cannot be applied to wireless sensor networks. This is due to the constraints of battery power, memory, and the computational capacities of the miniature wireless sensor nodes. Therefore, to address this need, it becomes necessary to develop new lightweight security protocols. This dissertation focuses on designing a suite of lightweight trust-based security mechanisms and a cooperation enforcement protocol for wireless sensor networks. This dissertation presents a trust-based cluster head election mechanism used to elect new cluster heads. This solution prevents a major security breach against the routing protocol, namely, the election of malicious or compromised cluster heads. This dissertation also describes a location-aware, trust-based, compromise node detection, and isolation mechanism. Both of these mechanisms rely on the ability of a node to monitor its neighbors. Using neighbor monitoring techniques, the nodes are able to determine their neighbors’ reputation and trust level through probabilistic modeling. The mechanisms were designed to mitigate internal attacks within wireless sensor networks. The feasibility of the approach is demonstrated through extensive simulations. The dissertation also addresses non-cooperation problems in multi-user wireless sensor networks. A scalable lightweight enforcement algorithm using evolutionary game theory is also designed. The effectiveness of this cooperation enforcement algorithm is validated through mathematical analysis and simulation. This research has advanced the knowledge of wireless sensor network security and cooperation by developing new techniques based on mathematical models. By doing this, we have enabled others to build on our work towards the creation of highly trusted wireless sensor networks. This would facilitate its full utilization in many fields ranging from civilian to military applications.





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