Towards securing networks of resource constrained devices: a study of cryptographic primitives and key distribution schemes
Chan, Kevin Sean
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Wireless networks afford many benefits compared to wired networks in terms of their usability in dynamic situations, mobility of networked devices, and accessibility of hazardous environments. The devices used in these networks are generally assumed to be limited in resources such as energy, memory, communications range, and computational ability. Operating in remote or hostile environments, this places them in danger of being compromised by some malicious entity. This work addresses these issues to increase the security of these networks while still maintaining acceptable levels of networking performance and resource usage. We investigate new methods for data encryption on personal wireless hand-held devices. An important consideration for resource-constrained devices is the processing required to encrypt data for transmission or for secure storage. Significant latency from data encryption diminishes the viability of these security services for hand-held devices. Also, increased processing demands require additional energy for each device, where both energy and processing capability are limited. Therefore, one area of interest for hand-held wireless devices is being able to provide data encryption while minimizing the processing and energy overhead as a cost to provide such a security service. We study the security of a wavelet-based cryptosystem and consider its viability for use in hand-held devices. This thesis also considers the performance of wireless sensor networks in the presence of an adversary. The sensor nodes used in these networks are limited in available energy, processing capability and transmission range. Despite these resource constraints and expected malicious attacks on the network, these networks require widespread, highly-reliable communications. Maintaining satisfactory levels of network performance and security between entities is an important goal toward ensuring the successful and accurate completion of desired sensing tasks. However, the resource-constrained nature of the sensor nodes used in these applications provides challenges in meeting these networking and security requirements. We consider link-compromise attacks and node-spoofing attacks on wireless sensor networks, and we consider the performance of various key predistribution schemes applied to these networks. New key predistribution techniques to improve the security of wireless sensor networks are proposed.