Security in Wireless Ad Hoc Networks
The primary objective of this research proposal is to investigate security and vulnerability issues in
wireless ad hoc networks. Towards the realization of this objective, the goals
of the proposal are to:
Survey the wireless ad hoc network landscape to determine the types, architectures,
technologies, protocols, and standards.
Investigate protocol vulnerabilities and determine the security concerns generic to ad hoc
networks as wel
l as those specific to particular types of ad hoc networks.
The project will be carried out at CITEL headquarters. The duration of the project is four months from
The rest of the proposal outline
s the background, research plan
Wireless networks with limited or no infrastructure
There has been tremendous interest in recent years in the design and deployment of wireless
on the fly
”, that is, wireless networks that require limited or no
infrastructure to support data
transmission among the network nodes. Examples of such wireless networks include WiFi ad hoc
networks, wireless sensor networks and some types of wireless mesh networks. The rapid
penetration of lightweight devices such as P
DAs, sensor devices, Bluetooth devices, laptops and
palmtops into the wireless market have opened up a number of application possibilities for such
Application areas where these networks can be deployed include, but are not limited to, the follo
measurement of temperature/humidity, collection of pollution data,
detection of chemical agents, remote monitoring in inhospitable areas such as in nuclear power
Patient monitoring and distribution of
critical clinical care data in hospitals, pre
hospital and post
hospital home health care.
Sensor devices in plants and devices for monitoring.
Forces on the battlefield creating a tactical network in unfamiliar territory for
mination and monitoring of situation awareness information.
Emergency disaster relief and rescue
Collection and dissemination of information after a
storm or an earthquake, especially when the wired communication infrastructure is destroyed and
communication quickly becomes crucial.
Monitoring of weaknesses in building structures.
video and audio conferencing, groupware applications.
Ubiquitous computing environments
ple at home or at work can interact with a variety of
Vehicular ad hoc networks
Automotive networks to disseminate information about traffic and
weather conditions, congestions, accident warnings, traffic flow regulation.
logy and Classification
The literature in the public domain contains a plethora of different types of wireless networks with
limited infrastructure. There are also different interpretations of the terms “ad hoc”, “mesh”, and
“sensor” networks. In an attemp
t to provide a bird’s eye view of the landscape of such networks and
also to clarify the design space for our research, we provide the following definitions.
wireless ad hoc network
is a wireless network in which no infrastructure such as a base stati
required for inter
node communications. The network is usually multi
hop in nature, since inter
communications usually require multiple hops through other nodes. There are three broad types of
wireless ad hoc networks:
Spontaneous Wireless Netw
in which the network is formed on demand. These are
contained networks in the sense that they do not require outside
communications. Examples include Wi
Fi ad hoc a
nd Bluetooth networks
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs)
in which a group
of low power sensor nodes interact
with each other and collectively send information to a base station which coordinates the
sensor nodes and also provides
Wireless Mesh Networks (WMesh)
which consist of a number of wireless netwo
interconnected by a static backbone of wireless routers which facilita
Providing security in ad hoc networks poses a number of challenges. These challenges arise from the
inherent characteristics of
Lack of infrastructure and dependence on intermediate nodes for routing
High mobility of nodes
battery power, CPU, memory
A number of attacks, both passive and active, that can be la
unched on ad hoc networks have been
identified in the literature. These include:
Eavesdropping by insertion of malicious nodes
Node subversion in which an ad hoc node may be captured and its information compromised
Denial of service attacks including jammi
ng, refusal to route messages, flooding.
Traffic analysis attacks in which an attacker can disable the base station by monitoring traffic
Sybil attack in which a malicious node takes on multiple identities and routes multiple paths.
Node replication attack
s in which packets are corrupted or misrouted by replicating legitimate
Sinkhole attacks in which all the traffic from a particular area is diverted to a compromised or
Wormhole attacks in which the adversary tunnels messages receive
d in one part of the
network over a low latency link and replays them in a different part.
Key management attacks in which a group key is compromised by the presence of malicious
Research Plan and Deliverables
This research project will investi
gate the challenges and issues in deploying ad hoc systems in a
The scientific approach adopted in this research project is a combination of survey of literature and
products, investigation of security holes,
entification of vulnerabi
. The following figure
depicts the research steps.
STEP 1: Survey of ad hoc network types, protocols, technologies and products.
STEP 2: Survey of ad hoc network security analysis and vulnerability issues
February 28, 200
Survey report on wireless ad hoc networks: types, technologies, applications, protocols, products.
Vulnerability analysis of ad hoc networks: study of security issues in different types of ad hoc