Securing mobile ad hoc networks with certificateless public keys

Yanchao Zhang, Wei Liu, Wenjing Lou, Yuguang Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


This paper studies key management, a fundamental problem in securing mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs). We present IKM, an ID-based key management scheme as a novel combination of ID-based and threshold cryptography. IKM is a certificateless solution in that public keys of mobile nodes are directly derivable from their known IDs plus some common information. It thus eliminates the need for certificate-based authenticated public-key distribution indispensable in conventional public-key management schemes. IKM features a novel construction method of ID-based public/private keys, which not only ensures high-level tolerance to node compromise, but also enables efficient network-wide key update via a single broadcast message. We also provide general guidelines about how to choose the secret-sharing parameters used with threshold cryptography to meet desirable levels of security and robustness. The advantages of IKM over conventional certificate-based solutions are justified through extensive simulations. Since most MANET security mechanisms thus far involve the heavy use of certificates, we believe that our findings open a new avenue towards more effective and efficient security design for MANETs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-399
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • ID-based cryptography
  • Key management
  • Mobile ad hoc networks
  • Secret sharing
  • Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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