Security of Things – The WSN Effect

aes pictureResearchers of the wireless sensor network group of the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland have investigated and proposed what may be the beginning of ‘Security of Things’ that will help future application of the ‘Internet of Things’

In an article titled ‘Smart Security Implementation for Wireless Sensor Network Nodes” published in the Journal of Wireless Sensor Network (JWSN) by Dr. Celestine Iwendi, Dr. Alastair Allen and Engr. Kennedy Offor, investigated and implemented a number of smart security techniques appropriate for WSN nodes with various trade-off such as power consumption and scalability. In the article, they provided a brief survey of the major approaches to security prerogative and methods that could reduce if not eliminate algorithmic complexity and denial of service attacks to sensor nodes. According to the chief investigator, Dr Iwendi ‘This is the beginning of the Security of Things in wireless sensor networks domain”

The article investigates and describes a new security implementation for WSN, including various trade-off such as implementation complexity, power dissipation, security flexibility and scalability. This smart security implementation is designed to have efficient and flexible key distribution system secured enough to prevent denial-of-service attacks while conserving energy. A reassessment of Blom’s key generation was implemented. The researchers goal was to provide a secured pre-distribution and distribution of keys by every single node in WSN with a piece of Advanced encrypted (AES) secured data that would be generating a pairwise key with every other node in the network, thereby the resultant pairwise key will now transmit to every other node in the network.

The system was implemented in Contiki operating system in place of TinyOS because of the advantage of multithreading. According to Dr Iwendi “We can summarise the contribution of this article as follows: An intelligent key allocation and Key Pre-distribution that secures the Base station and the sensor nodes before deployment. An intelligent routine mechanism that set-up the stage for encryption in the network, with trade-off in power consumption: a unique combination of advanced encryption standard (AES) with key management technique and alternative security mechanism with uIP-WSN configuration.

In the aftermath of their research, the fear of possible interference, corrupting a message transmitted by sensor nodes to and from the Base station was highly considered in this article. Treating issues like denial-of –service (DOS) and algorithmic complexity attacks is not an easy task and it can detour the effective usage or benefit of WSN to the field of healthcare, Oil and Gas and military formations and the application of the Internet of Things. The article in summary presented the smart security technique for wireless sensor network nodes with key management system as the direct approach to sensor nodes communication and security. It highlights a coordinated and careful usage of advanced encryption standard (AES), generation of the key parameters that makes the sensors communicate more freely, confidentially and with integrity. The technique also makes a very strong case in making sure that scalability was achieved during implementation.

The full article is Open Source and can be read at the Journal of Wireless Sensor Network with contacts of the researchers for possible collaboration.


WSN Journal