Cryptographic Key Distribution In Wireless Sensor Networks Using Bilinear Pairings
Szczechowiak, Piotr (2010) Cryptographic Key Distribution In Wireless Sensor Networks Using Bilinear Pairings. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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It is envisaged that the use of cheap and tiny wireless sensors will soon bring a third wave of evolution in computing systems. Billions of wireless senor nodes will provide a bridge between information systems and the physical world. Wireless nodes deployed around the globe will monitor the surrounding environment as well as gather information about the people therein. It is clear that this revolution will put security solutions to a great test.
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are a challenging environment for applying security services. They differ in many aspects from traditional fixed networks, and standard cryptographic solutions cannot be used in this application space. Despite many research efforts, key distribution in WSNs still remains an open problem. Many of the proposed schemes suffer from high communication overhead and storage costs, low scalability and poor resilience against different types of attacks. The exclusive usage of simple and energy efficient symmetric cryptography primitives does not solve the security problem. On the other hand a full public key infrastructure which uses asymmetric techniques, digital signatures and certificate authorities seems to be far too complex for a constrained WSN environment. This thesis investigates a new approach to WSN security which addresses
many of the shortcomings of existing mechanisms. It presents a detailed description on how to provide practical Public Key Cryptography solutions for wireless sensor networks. The contributions to the state-of-the-art are added on all levels of development beginning with the basic arithmetic operations and finishing with complete security protocols. This work includes a survey of different key distribution protocols that have been developed for WSNs, with an evaluation of their limitations. It also proposes Identity- Based Cryptography (IBC) as an ideal technique for key distribution in sensor networks. It presents the first in-depth study of the application and implementation of Pairing- Based Cryptography (PBC) to WSNs. This is followed by a presentation of the state of the art on the software implementation of Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) on typical WSNplatforms. New optimized algorithms for performing multiprecision multiplication on a broad range of low-end CPUs are introduced as well. Three novel protocols for key distribution are proposed in this thesis. Two of these are intended for non-interactive key exchange in flat and clustered networks respectively. A third key distribution protocol uses Identity-Based Encryption (IBE) to secure communication within a heterogeneous sensor network. This thesis includes also a comprehensive security evaluation that shows that proposed schemes are resistant to various attacks that are specific to WSNs. This work shows that by using the newest achievements in cryptography like pairings and IBC it is possible to deliver affordable public-key cryptographic solutions and to apply a sufficient level of security for the most demanding WSN applications.
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