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Security Services for Wireless Sensor Networks
(Research Talk)

By: Henrique João Domingos

The applications and markets of ad-hoc and wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are growing at a rapid pace, becoming an integral part of the computing landscape. The technologies supporting ubiquitous connectivity based on ad-hoc networking settings are developing very fast. Current trend of digitization, monitoring and automation is evolving towards ubiquitous computing, where people and their environment (machines, factories and critical infrastructures) benefit from the embedded sensors, small computing units and pervasive information storages organized as ad-hoc internetworking environments. At another level of abstraction, WSNs can be used as (more or less specialized) monitoring or actuation elements, integrated in wide critical monitoring infrastructures, internet or corporate-net based. However, WSNs introduce new security challenges, due to their dynamic topology, severe resource constraints, natural unreliable communication, no human supervision and absence of trusted computing bases. Furthermore, other barriers towards a widespread adoption of secure WSNs are concerned with the lack of a clear methodology and supporting tools for the engineering, design, simulation, emulation and deployment of security services. Layering approaches for the reuse of such services, as native solutions for WSN applications, is also a very important requirement. In the CITI and DI-FCT-UNL, the approach of novel services combining security and reliability mechanisms - as native components for AdHoc and WSN stack-layers - has been addressed. The focus is on the design, implementation, simulation and evaluation of secure routing mechanisms and trustable data- dissemination algorithms that can be used under programming-level abstractions. In this research, different settings and adversary models are considered for scalable multi-hop WSNs (ranging from communication-attacks inspired by classic Dolev-Yao threats to node-level intrusion hypothesis or intrusion-based threat models). The evaluation of the cost or impact of such mechanisms has been studied, in different dimensions: communication latency, bandwidth trade-offs, memory and computation constraints, energy management and reliability criteria. The development, simulation and evaluation of different variants of secure routing protocols and data-dissemination mechanisms for specific WSN technology, as well the reuse of those mechanisms behind high-level abstractions (such as secure tuple-spaces and secure logical-neighborhoods), are on-going work directions. Applications and case-studies are addressed in on-going collaboration projects, focused in the applications for structural healthcare monitoring of critical civil infrastructures and large-scale monitoring wireless control for production machines requirements. In the talk, the different dimensions, simulation and emulation environments, tools and solutions addressed in the those projects and related initiatives are presented.

Date: 13 Oct 2010

Location/Event: Porto, CMU-Portugal NET-SCIP Workshop on Security


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