How Trust and Reputation-Based Collaboration Impact Wireless Sensor Network Security

How Trust and Reputation-Based Collaboration Impact Wireless Sensor Network Security

Noria Foukia (University of Otago, New Zealand) and Nathan Lewis (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-414-9.ch009
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Like wired network security, wireless sensor network (WSN) security encompasses the typical network security requirements which are: confidentiality, integrity, authentication, non-repudiation and availability. At the same time, security for WSNs differs from traditional security designed for classical wired networks in many points because of the new constraints imposed by WSN technology. Many aspects are due to the limited resources (memory space, CPU …) and infrastructure-less property of WSNs. Therefore traditional security mechanisms cannot be applied directly and WSNs are more prone to existing and new threats than traditional networks. Typical threats are the physical capture of sensor nodes, the service disruption due to the unreliable wireless communication. Parameters specific to WSN characteristics may help to reduce the effect of threats. Examples of existing measures are efficient WSN power management strategies that can dynamically adjust the node cycles (sleeping or awake mode) based on the current network workload or the use of redundant information to locally detect lying nodes. In addition to adjusting existing WSN characteristics that impact security, establishing trust and collaboration is essential in WSNs for many reasons such as the high distribution of sensor nodes or the goal-oriented nature of many sensing applications. This chapter emphasizes the need of collaboration between sensor nodes and shows that establishing trust between nodes and using reputation reported by collaborating nodes can help mitigate security issues.
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Description Of A Typical Wireless Sensor Network Infrastructure

A Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) consists of spatially distributed autonomous nodes called sensors that monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature or pressure at different locations (Römer. K., & Mattern. F., December 2004). They are used in a variety of applications, such as climate sensing and control in office buildings. A WSN is often composed of many (from a dozen to thousands) tiny sensors that are dispatched in an ad hoc way throughout a physical environment (house, battlefield) or inside the phenomenon to sense (human body). Each sensor is powered by a battery and collects data, such as temperature, pressure, heart rate, or other environmental data. Collected data is relayed to neighbor nodes and via the neighbor nodes to a destination node called the base station (BS) or sink (Karlof. C., & Wagner. D., 2003). At the BS, the data coming from several nodes is aggregated before being processed in order to provide the desired output corresponding to the phenomenon being sensed.

Components of a Sensor Node

A typical sensor node is composed of (Akyildiz. F., Su. W., Sankarasubramaniam. Y., & Cayirci. E., 2002):

  • A sensing unit (or sensor) which is deployed either inside the phenomenon to be sensed or very close to it. This unit measures physical information about the event that it senses, such as pressure, light, heat, sound, etc.

  • A microcontroller with a simple processing unit that is limited in terms of computations and memory. Therefore, sensor nodes often locally carry out simple computations and transmit partially processed data to special nodes called fusion nodes. A fusion node collects and combines data from several nodes and gathers that information with its own collected data before sending it to another node or to the BS.

  • A transceiver that combines transmitting and receiving capabilities of the sensor node. The transceiver can also stop transmitting/receiving and switch to a sleeping mode.

  • A source of energy or power unit, usually a battery.

  • A sensor node may have additional components such as a clock.

Components of a WSN

A typical WSN is composed of:

  • A set of sensor nodes.

  • A base station (BS) or sink: This is a specific node of the WSN that has larger resources (computation and memory), more energy and greater communication capability than a singular sensor node. A BS is usually acting as an interface between the WSN and the end-user. It often provides a management capability for the WSN.

  • Wireless communication between the sensor nodes in the same radio range and between the sensor nodes and the BS.

  • Wired communication often between the BS and the end-user via a wired network.

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