Attacks, Vulnerabilities, and Their Countermeasures in Wireless Sensor Networks

Attacks, Vulnerabilities, and Their Countermeasures in Wireless Sensor Networks

G. Jaspher Willsie Kathrine, C. Willson Joseph
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5068-7.ch007
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Wireless sensor network (WSN) comprises sensor nodes that have the capability to sense and compute. Due to their availability and minimal cost compared to traditional networks, WSN is used broadly. The need for sensor networks increases quickly as they are more likely to experience security attacks. There are many attacks and vulnerabilities in WSN. The sensor nodes have issues like limited resources of memory and power and undependable communication medium, which is further complicated in unattended environments, secure communication, and data transmission issues. Due to the complexity in establishing and maintaining the wireless sensor networks, the traditional security solutions if implemented will prove to be inefficient for the dynamic nature of the wireless sensor networks. Since recent times, the advance of smart cities and everything smart, wireless sensor nodes have become an integral part of the internet of things and their related paradigms. This chapter discusses the known attacks, vulnerabilities, and countermeasures existing in wireless sensor networks.
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Wireless Sensor Networks

WSN are a type of wireless network which consist of small, battery powered sensor nodes. These are used in unmanned places where there exists a need for data collection without any kind of human intervention. WSN gathers and communicates the data through wireless communication as shown in figure 1. The sensor nodes are very small but contain power, storage and communication facilities which are in turn limited as discussed by Akyildiz I.F., Su W., Sankarasubramaniam Y. and Cayirci E (2002).

Further advanced development in wireless communication has empowered the development of low cost, minimal power and multifunctional sensor nodes. Each sensor node has sensing capability, data processing unit and communicating components. The Sensor network uses protocols and algorithms that possess self- organizing capabilities.

Figure 1.

Wireless Sensor Network


The added feature of sensor network is the cooperative process of sensor nodes. The sensor nodes send the processed data instead of sending the raw data which is sensed and transmit the required data to the network. The important constraints on sensor nodes are the requirement of low power consumption for the purpose of computation and communication. Sensor nodes use the inbuilt trade off mechanism for long network lifetime with low cost power system as discussed by Ian F. Akyildiz, Weilian Su, Yogesh Sankarasubramaniam, and Erdal Cayirci (2002) Since the sensor nodes of WSN are capable of gathering and sending data, they can be deployed in any distributed environment as discussed by Desai Shivani, Nair Tarjni Vyas Anuja R., Jain Hunar (2017) and are used in many applications as discussed by Akyildiz I.F., Melodia T., and Chowdhury K.R.(2007) like smart buildings, medical care applications, industry, defense and internet of things applications as discussed in Ayoub Benayache, Azeddine Bilami Sami Barkat and Pascal Lorenz Hafnaoui Taleb (2019) and C. Thilagavathi, Dr.P. Saveetha, C. Willson Joseph, K. Anusree, R. Roshni Menon (2018). This chapter aims to discuss and analyze the various security requirements, vulnerabilities possible in wireless sensor networks. The attacks that can occur and its counter measures are also discussed. Finally a framework to improve security in wireless sensor networks is given which has been designed keeping in mind the integration of WSN in modern technologies like internet of things, internet of vehicles and various artificially intelligent automations.


Characteristics Of Wireless Sensor Networks

The important characteristics of wireless sensor nodes as discussed in Ian F. Akyildiz, Weilian Su, Yogesh Sankarasubramaniam, and Erdal Cayirci (2002) are

  • Consumption of low power and long lasting inbuilt battery life.

  • Ability to handle failures in network.

  • Simple to use.

  • It uses Cross-Layer design.

  • Adaptability to enormous scale of distribution.

  • Versatility to huge scale of distribution.

  • Some mobility of nodes and Heterogeneity of nodes.

  • Scalability to enormous Capability to guarantee strict environmental conditions.


Application Of Wireless Sensor Networks

Wireless sensor networks have high flexibility in solving different problems in application domains. Some of the major applications of WSN as discussed by Ayoub Benayache, Azeddine Bilami Sami Barkat and Pascal Lorenz Hafnaoui Taleb (2019) are

  • Military application

  • Area Monitoring

  • Transportation

  • Health Application

  • Agriculture Application

  • Environment sensing

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