A Secure Scheme Against Power Exhausting Attacks in Hierarchical Wireless Sensor Networks

Security and energy efficiency are critical concerns in wireless sensor network (WSN) design. An energy-efficient secure scheme against power exhausting attacks is developed, especially the denial-of-sleep attacks, which can shorten the lifetime of WSNs rapidly. Although various media access control (MAC) protocols have been proposed to save the power and extend the lifetime of WSNs, the existing designs of MAC protocol are insufficient to protect the WSNs from denial of- sleep attacks in MAC layer. This is attributed to the fact that the well-known security mechanisms usually awake the sensor nodes before these nodes are allowed to execute the security processes. Therefore, the practical design is to simplify the authenticating process in order to reduce the energy consumption of sensor nodes and enhance the performance of the MAC protocol in countering the power exhausting attacks. A cross-layer design is proposed, which is a secure scheme integrating the MAC protocol. The analyses show that the proposed scheme can counter the replay attack and forge attack in an energy-efficient way.


The X-MAC protocol is one of the sender-initiated schemes to improve B-MAC protocol by replacing the long preamble with short preambles, which allows the receiver to send acknowledgment (ACK) back to the sender as soon as it senses the preamble.

The RI-MAC protocol is one of the receiver-initiated schemes to minimize the channel occupancy time of a pair of a sender and receiver, which allows the sender to send data to the receiver as soon as it senses the beacon.

However, current layer-2 protocol designs are insufficient to protect a WSN from Denial-of-Sleep attack.


A two-tier secure transmission scheme is proposed.

This scheme uses the hash-chain to generate the dynamic session key, which can be used for mutual authentication and the symmetric encryption key.

By integrating with MAC protocol, there is no extra packet compared with the existing MAC designs.

The two-tier design can check and interrupt the attacks at different check points.

The combination of low complexity security process and multiple check points design can defense against attacks and send the sensor nodes back to sleep mode as soon as possible.


The security analysis shows that this scheme can counter the replay attack and forge attack.

The only computations of dynamic session key are the hash functions, such as MD5 or SHA-1, which are very simple and fast.

This scheme is energy efficient as well

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