PSKA: Usable and secure key agreement scheme for body area networks

Krishna K. Venkatasubramanian, Ayan Banerjee, Sandeep Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

289 Scopus citations


A body area network (BAN) is a wireless network of health monitoring sensors designed to deliver personalized healthcare. Securing intersensor communications within BANs is essential for preserving not only the privacy of health data, but also for ensuring safety of healthcare delivery. This paper presents physiological-signal-based key agreement (PSKA), a scheme for enabling secure intersensor communication within a BAN in a usable (plug-n-play, transparent) manner. PSKA allows neighboring nodes in a BAN to agree to a symmetric (shared) cryptographic key, in an authenticated manner, using physiological signals obtained from the subject. No initialization or predeployment is required; simply deploying sensors in a BAN is enough to make them communicate securely. Our analysis, prototyping, and comparison with the frequently used DiffieHellman key agreement protocol shows that PSKA is a viable intersensor key agreement protocol for BANs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5352222
Pages (from-to)60-68
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Body area networks (BANs)
  • Physiological-signals-based key agreement (PSKA)
  • Secure communication
  • Usable security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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