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CHENG, YISecurity Mechanisms for Mobile Ad Hoc and Wireless Sensor Networks
PhD, University of Cincinnati, 2008, Engineering : Computer Science and Engineering

Wireless Ad Hoc Networks have emerged as an advanced networking paradigm based on collaborative efforts among multiple self-organized wireless communication devices. Without the requirement of a fixed infrastructure support, wireless ad hoc networks can be quickly deployed anywhere at any time when needed. The decentralized nature, minimal configuration and quick deployment of wireless ad hoc networks make them suitable for various applications, from disaster rescue, target tracking to military conflicts. Wireless ad hoc networks can be further categorized into mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), wireless sensor networks (WSNs), and wireless mesh networks (WMNs) depending on their applications.

Security is a big challenge in wireless ad hoc networks due to the lack of any infrastructure support, dynamic network topology, shared radio medium, and resource-constrained wireless users. Most existing security mechanisms applied for the Internet or traditional wireless networks are neither applicable nor suitable for wireless ad hoc network environments. In MANETs, routing security is an extremely important issue, as the majority of the standard routing protocols assume non-hostile environments. Once deployed in a hostile environment and working in an unattended mode, existing routing protocols are vulnerable to various attacks. To address these concerns, we propose an anonymous secure routing protocol for MANETs in this dissertation, which can be incorporated with existing routing protocols and achieve enhanced routing security with minimum additional overheads.

In WSNs, key distribution and management is the core issue of any security approaches. Due to extremely resource-constrained sensor nodes and lack of any infrastructure support, traditional public-key based key distribution and management mechanisms are commonly considered as too expensive to be employed in WSNs. In this dissertation, we propose two efficient pairwise key pre-distribution and management mechanisms for both distributed and hierarchical large-scale WSNs, which enable establishing secure links between any two sensor nodes located within their communication range. As we know, sensing and communication are two fundamental characteristics of WSNs, and they cannot be addressed separately. Existing work on sensing coverage mainly focus on how to use the minimum number of sensors to achieve a required coverage, while security constraints are not sufficiently addressed. We propose an effective key distribution approach for randomly deployed WSNs, based on random graph theory and a realistic random key pre-distribution mechanism, in order to achieve both robust sensing coverage and secure connectivity simultaneously in a hostile deployment environment.


Dharma Agrawal (Committee Chair); Jerome Paul (Committee Member); Wen-Ben Jone (Committee Member); Chia-Yung Han (Committee Member); Ernest Hall (Committee Member)


Communication; Computer Science


Wireless Ad Hoc Network; Mobile Ad Hoc Network (MANET); Wireless Sensor Network (WSN); Routing; Security; Cryptography; Key Management; Distributed Wireless Network; Hierarchical Wireless Network; Sensing Coverage; Secured Connectivity