Detection of denial-of-message attacks on sensor network broadcasts

TitleDetection of denial-of-message attacks on sensor network broadcasts
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsMcCune JM, Elaine Shi, Perrig A, Reiter MK
Date Published2005
Keywordsauthenticated acknowledgments, broadcast channels, broadcast protocols, broadcasting base station, countermeasures, denial-of-message attacks, DoM, game theory, game-theoretic approach, malicious sensor nodes, Mobile computing, optimal attacker, probabilistic detection, probability, Protocols, Sampling methods, secure implicit sampling, sensor network broadcasts, SIS, telecommunication security, Wireless sensor networks

So far sensor network broadcast protocols assume a trustworthy environment. However in safety and mission-critical sensor networks this assumption may not be valid and some sensor nodes might be adversarial. In these environments, malicious sensor nodes can deprive other nodes from receiving a broadcast message. We call this attack a denial-of-message attack (DoM). In this paper we model and analyze this attack, and present countermeasures. We present SIS, a secure implicit sampling scheme that permits a broadcasting base station to probabilistically detect the failure of nodes to receive its broadcast, even if these failures result from an attacker motivated to induce these failures undetectably. SIS works by eliciting authenticated acknowledgments from a subset of nodes per broadcast, where the subset is unpredictable to the attacker and tunable so as to mitigate acknowledgment implosion on the base station. We use a game-theoretic approach to evaluate this scheme in the face of an optimal attacker that attempts to maximize the number of nodes it denies the broadcast while remaining undetected by the base station, and show that SIS significantly constrains such an attacker even in sensor networks exhibiting high intrinsic loss rates. We also discuss extensions that permit more targeted detection capabilities.