Combinatorial design of key distribution mechanisms for wireless sensor networks

Camtepe, Seyit A. & Yener, Bulent (2007) Combinatorial design of key distribution mechanisms for wireless sensor networks. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, 15(2), pp. 346-358.

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Abstract

Secure communications in wireless sensor networks operating under adversarial conditions require providing pairwise (symmetric) keys to sensor nodes. In large scale deployment scenarios, there is no prior knowledge of post deployment network configuration since nodes may be randomly scattered over a hostile territory. Thus, shared keys must be distributed before deployment to provide each node a key-chain. For large sensor networks it is infeasible to store a unique key for all other nodes in the key-chain of a sensor node. Consequently, for secure communication either two nodes have a key in common in their key-chains and they have a wireless link between them, or there is a path, called key-path, among these two nodes where each pair of neighboring nodes on this path have a key in common. Length of the key-path is the key factor for efficiency of the design. This paper presents novel deterministic and hybrid approaches based on Combinatorial Design for deciding how many and which keys to assign to each key-chain before the sensor network deployment. In particular, Balanced Incomplete Block Designs (BIBD) and Generalized Quadrangles (GQ) are mapped to obtain efficient key distribution schemes. Performance and security properties of the proposed schemes are studied both analytically and computationally. Comparison to related work shows that the combinatorial approach produces better connectivity with smaller key-chain sizes.

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ID Code: 56823
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Wireless sensor networks, Key distribution mechanism, Balanced incomplete block designs, Generalized quadrangles , Key-chains
DOI: 10.1109/TNET.2007.892879
ISSN: 1063-6692
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > PURE MATHEMATICS (010100) > Combinatorics and Discrete Mathematics (excl. Physical Combinatorics) (010104)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > DATA FORMAT (080400) > Data Encryption (080402)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > TECHNOLOGY (100000) > COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES (100500) > Computer Communications Networks (100503)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > TECHNOLOGY (100000) > COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES (100500) > Wireless Communications (100510)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Past > Institutes > Information Security Institute
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 IEEE
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Deposited On: 19 Feb 2013 01:17
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2013 14:36

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