Security Threats in the Internet of Things: RPL's Attacks and Countermeasures

Security Threats in the Internet of Things: RPL's Attacks and Countermeasures

Faiza Medjek (Research Center on Scientific and Technical Information (CERIST), Algeria & University Abderrahamane Mira, Algeria), Djamel Tandjaoui (Research Center on Scientific and Technical Information (CERIST), Algeria), Imed Romdhani (Edinburgh Napier University, UK) and Nabil Djedjig (Research Center on Scientific and Technical Information (CERIST), Algeria & University Abderrahamane Mira, Algeria)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5736-4.ch008


In the internet of things (IoT) vision, people, systems, and objects with sensing and/or actuating capabilities communicate to monitor and control the physical world. Nowadays, the IoT concept has attracted significant attention from different application domain such as healthcare and smart homes. Indeed, self-organization and self-configuration are key characteristics of IoT given that IoT represents a pervasive environment where objects are resource-constrained and communication technologies are very ubiquitous. These characteristics in addition to the vulnerability of objects themselves and of the communication channels make IoT more susceptible to malicious attacks. In this context, a deep analysis of IoT security breach and vulnerabilities is necessary. This chapter presents IoT requirements and existing threats as well as security protocols and mechanisms. It specifically analyzes existing and new threats against the IoT's routing protocol (the routing protocol for low-power and lossy networks: RPL) and presents intrusion detection solutions (IDS) to counter RPL attacks.
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The Internet of Things (IoT) concept was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton. The basic idea is that smart, low-power and low-processing objects (things) are able to interconnect, interact, cooperate with each other, and transfer sensing data to the Internet using compatible and heterogeneous wireless technologies, where computing and communication systems are seamlessly embedded (Andrushevich et al., 2013). Thus, any electronic device and anything such as mobile devices, home objects (fridges, dish washers), temperature control devices, cloth, food, animals and trees are now equipped with sensing, communication, computing and/or processing capabilities. The fact of building a digital counterpart to any entity and/or phenomena in the physical realm enables IoT objects to communicate and interact via wireless technologies such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), ZigBee, WSN (Wireless sensor network), WLAN (wireless local area network), NFC (Near Field Communication), DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), LTE (Long Term Evolution), Bluetooth, or 3G/4G (Gubbi, Buyya, Marusic, & Palaniswami, 2013).

The IoT has a great impact on several aspects of everyday business and personal lives, where sensor measurements can be read, processed, and analyzed. Indeed, IoT applications serve different users needs in different contexts. Applications for personal lives range from advanced health monitoring, smart leaving, enhanced learning, to improved security. For example, in an e-health application, a patient (inside or outside the hospital) wears a heart rate monitor, wrapped around the chest or a smart watch on the wrist, which is continuously reading and transmitting the heart rate sensor readings to another IoT node. Hence, the doctor can monitor conditions of his patients in real-time, and thus, emergencies can be handled on the fly. In a smart home, smart refrigerators can display information on ingredients to buy or to throw away. Windows, doors and cameras can signal intrusion. Smart televisions enable users to surf the Internet, make purchases, and share photos. Also lights, heaters, air conditioners, and washing machines can be manipulated remotely (Andrushevich et al., 2013; Rghioui, Bouhorma, & Benslimane, 2013; Gubbi, 2013; Al-Fuqaha, Guizani, Mohammadi, Aledhari, & Ayyash, 2015).

From another side, applications for business include smart cities and energy, smart environment, smart industry, smart health and smart agriculture. In fact, applications can be smarter energy management systems (smart grid) to monitor and manage energy consumption. Smart surveillance to ensure safety. Automated transportation by introducing smart roads. Vehicular and Industrial automation (e.g. predictions on equipment malfunction). Environmental monitoring such as water quality monitoring and water distribution, air pollution monitoring and fire detection. For smart tracking in supply chain management, IoT technologies such as RFID tags can be used for tracking objects from production, all the way to transportation. In addition, in green houses, micro-climate conditions are controlled to maximize the production and the quality of products. Also, in smart grid, efficient energy consumption can be achieved through continuous monitoring of electric consumption. In fact, smart home and e-health are the biggest potential markets for IoT networks (Andrushevich et al., 2013; Rghioui et al., 2013; Gubbi, 2013; Al-Fuqaha et al., 2015).

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