Location-based compromise-tolerant security mechanisms for wireless sensor networks

Yanchao Zhang, Wei Liu, Wenjing Lou, Yuguang Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

275 Scopus citations


Node compromise is a serious threat to wireless sensor networks deployed in unattended and hostile environments. To mitigate the impact of compromised nodes, we propose a suite of location-based compromise-tolerant security mechanisms. Based on a new cryptographic concept called pairing, we propose the notion of location-based keys (LBKs) by binding private keys of individual nodes to both their IDs and geographic locations. We then develop an LBK-based neighborhood authentication scheme to localize the impact of compromised nodes to their vicinity. We also present efficient approaches to establish a shared key between any two network nodes. In contrast to previous key establishment solutions, our approaches feature nearly perfect resilience to node compromise, low communication and computation overhead, low memory requirements, and high network scalability. Moreover, we demonstrate the efficacy of LBKs in counteracting several notorious attacks against sensor networks such as the Sybil attack, the identity replication attack, and wormhole and sinkhole attacks. Finally, we propose a location-based threshold-endorsement scheme, called LTE, to thwart the infamous bogus data injection attack, in which adversaries inject lots of bogus data into the network. The utility of LTE in achieving remarkable energy savings is validated by detailed performance evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-260
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Compromise tolerance
  • Location
  • Pairing
  • Security
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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