Grant Title: Power-efficient mechanisms for detecting replay-based intruders in wireless ad hoc networks. 

Period: 6/1/2004--8/31/2006 

Amount: $55,792 

PI: Turgay Korkmaz


One of the key issues in wireless ad hoc networks is how to make underlying routing protocols more secure. In response to that, researchers have actually proposed various secure routing protocols using cryptographic techniques. Although being resilient to various attacks, such solutions are inherently vulnerable to replay-based attacks (e.g., wormhole attacks), in which an illegitimate node overhears packets sent by some legitimate nodes and replays them within the transmission range of a different node. In order to detect and respond to replay-based intrusions and attacks, a general approach called packet leashes, which bound the travel distance of a packet, is introduced in the literature. However, this approach requires precise location information (e.g., using GPS) and/or tightly synchronized clocks, increasing the cost, complexity and power consumption of wireless nodes. Another approach considers the use of directional antennas. However, this approach also increases the complexity, cost and power consumption. Moreover, it cannot be effective when the number of intruders is increased strategically around the target.The key issue we investigate is how to verify whether the given two neighbors are actually within each other's transmission range or not without increasing the complexity or requiring additional hardware (e.g,. GPS or directional antennas). If we can address this fundamental question in an efficient and scalable manner, then the replay-based attacks can easily be determined and eliminated by canceling fake neighboring relations. For this, we first consider RTT-based and power-based approaches. We then couple them to design an effective neighbor verification protocol (NVP). In theory, we always see some room for replay-based attacks. However, our proposed protocol significantly limits the effectiveness of replay-based attacks by restricting the range where they might be launched and thus makes them practically impossible. 

With the extension of these grant we start investigating topology control, MAC and networking issues in wireless ad hoc networks, particularly in case of multi-radio multi-channel settings.

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