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SECURITY IN WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS

Recent advancement in wireless communications and electronics has enabled the development of low-cost, low-power, multifunctional sensor networks. The sensor networks can be used for various application areas such as health, military, home etc. Wireless Sensor Networks provide solutions to a range of monitoring problems. However they also introduce a new set of problems mainly due to small memories, weak processors, limited energy and small packet size. Since a wireless sensor network is a distributed real time system a natural question is how many solutions from existing distributed and real time systems can be used in these new systems? Unfortunately, very little prior work can be applied and new solutions are necessary in all areas of the system. The main reason is that the set of assumptions underlying previous work has changed dramatically. Most past distributed systems research has assumed that the systems are wired, have unlimited power, are not real-time, have user interface such as screens and mice, have a fixed set of resources, treat each node in the system as very important and are location independent. In contrast, for wireless sensor networks, the system are wireless, have scarce power, are real-time, utilize sensors and actuators as interface, have dynamically changing sets of resources, aggregate behavior is important and location is critical. Many wireless sensor networks also utilize minimal capacity devices which places further strain in the ability to use past solutions. WSN are limited in their energy, computation and communication capabilities. In contrast to traditional networks, sensor nodes are often deployed in inaccessible areas, presenting a risk of physical attacks. Sensor networks interact closely with their physical environment and with people, posing additional security problems. Because of these reasons current security mechanisms are inadequate for WSN. These new constraints pose new research challenges on key establishment, secrecy and authentication, privacy, robustness to denial of service attacks, secure routing, and node capture. To achieve a secure system, security must be integrated into every component, since components designed without security can become a point of attack. Consequently, security and privacy pervade every aspect of system design. If adversaries exist, they can perpetrate a wide variety of attacks on the routing algorithm including selective forwarding, black hole, sybil, replays, wormhole and denial of service attacks. Unfortunately, almost all WSN routing algorithms have ignored security and are vulnerable to these attacks. Protocols such as SPINS have begun to address secure routing issues. Many techniques such as Link Layer encryption and authentication, multipath routing, identity verification and authenticated broadcast seem to be good solution for security in a WSN. However, attacks such as sinkhole and wormhole pose lots of challenges to secure routing protocol design. Geographic routing protocols is one example of routing protocols which are able to withstand most of the WSN routing based attacks, as the legitimate nodes are able to estimate the location of the adversary nodes. Hence attacks such as sybil are rendered ineffective. Effective countermeasures are still lacking against these attacks, which can be applied after the design of these routing protocols has completed. In this proposed research, the objective is to design such routing protocols in which these attacks are ineffective.