Investigating the prevalent security techniques in wireless sensor network protocols

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O'Mahony, George D.
Harris, Philip J.
Murphy, Colin D.
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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
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The radio architectures of and protocols used by wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are, typically, very similar and are based on IEEE 802.15.4. By concentrating on this standard and the associated employed security techniques, the possibility of designing a transferable safety and privacy enhancement across protocols and services, becomes a reality. WSN applications have expanded significantly over the past decade or so and adopt commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) devices and publicly available standards, which inherently creates intruder incentives and security challenges. Securing WSNs is a critical requirement due to the challenging burden of protecting the transmitted sensitive information across various applications, while operating under unique security vulnerabilities and a fluctuating radio frequency (RF) spectrum and physical environment. Couple this aspect with establishing a level of trust among network nodes, while providing resilience to interference, it becomes clear that maintaining security is challenging. This paper identifies unique vulnerabilities in WSNs, which have a direct impact on privacy and safety. The prevalent security techniques used in the common PHY and MAC layers of various WSN protocols are discussed in terms of providing the essential security requirements. An experimental visualization of the coexistence issues in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) RF band, which is integral for IoT operations, is provided as an introduction to a new perspective on attacking WSNs. Fundamental attack styles and spectrum sharing/coexistence based intrusions are presented. Typical methods, which use COTS devices and open source software to exploit WSN security holes, are also discussed.
Interference , Intrusion , IoT , MAC , Packet , PHY , Protocol , Security , & WSN , Wireless sensor network (WSN) , Internet of Things (IoT) , Wireless sensor networks
O'Mahony, G. D., Harris, P. J. and Murphy, C. C. (2019) 'Investigating the Prevalent Security Techniques in Wireless Sensor Network Protocols', 2019 30th Irish Signals and Systems Conference (ISSC), Maynooth, 17-18 June, pp. 1-6. doi: 10.1109/ISSC.2019.8904934
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