Security in Wireless Sensor Networks with Mobile Codes

Security in Wireless Sensor Networks with Mobile Codes

Frantisek Zboril (Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic), Jan Horacek (Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic), Martin Drahansky (Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic) and Petr Hanacek (Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0978-5.ch021
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Abstract

Security of wireless sensor networks (WSN) relates in many aspects to security of distributed systems. On the first sight WSNs form a large distributed ad-hoc system with lot of tiny devices that sense some phenomena and communicate wirelessly. Due to some limitations, among which the energy consumption problem is the most important one, security issues could demand different solutions than those used in the area of ordinary distributed systems. In this chapter, the authors briefly introduce the hardware and software approach to WSN design first, and then they define the main security aspects in such systems. Then some security mechanisms are presented, and their connection to possible countermeasures of the identified risks is described.
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Architectures Of Wireless Sensor Networks

Among architectures that relate to WSN belong those that relate to hardware realization of the WSN, especially realization of individual nodes. Also the architectures of software applications and their realization may influence security question of these kinds of systems. Communication protocols, which are used for interaction among particular node devices combine often both software and hardware aspects of WSN system realizations. These protocols will be also discussed in this section.

Hardware Realization of WSN Nodes

As mentioned earlier, WSN consists of a large number of tiny devices called sensor nodes. Some of the nodes are base-stations that serve as gateways between WSN and other network or just a control station and they gather data from the sensor network and send commands from the control system to the network. The WSN sensor nodes (except of the base-stations) should be able to sense, to communicate by wireless radio device and of course to make computations over sensed and received data. Architecture of a sensor node then consists of some sensor devices, microcontroller and a transceiver at least. Recently there are some solutions for scientific and commercial usage, among which predominate products of Sun and Crossbow (now MEMSIC) companies. Sun offers their SunSpots, which are based on 32bit ARM920T. They are programmable in Java and are more aimed to the networking. On the other hand the second company offers their nodes named Mica-2, MicaZ and IRIS (usually called simply as motes) that are programmable in C or nesC language and because of their lower-level background they are also probably more energy thrifty than the SunSpots. Motes are based on Atmel A128L and A1281 microcontrollers. In the following text we will be mostly concentrated on the motes because the idea of simple device of extreme low energy consumption is more relevant for security questions in WSN as we will present them in this text.

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