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Vampire Attacks: Draining Life from Wireless Ad Hoc Sensor Networks
Feb. 2013 (vol. 12 no. 2)
pp. 318-332
E. Y. Vasserman, Dept. of Comput. & Inf. Sci., Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS, USA
N. Hopper, Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Eng., Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
Ad hoc low-power wireless networks are an exciting research direction in sensing and pervasive computing. Prior security work in this area has focused primarily on denial of communication at the routing or medium access control levels. This paper explores resource depletion attacks at the routing protocol layer, which permanently disable networks by quickly draining nodes' battery power. These "Vampire” attacks are not specific to any specific protocol, but rather rely on the properties of many popular classes of routing protocols. We find that all examined protocols are susceptible to Vampire attacks, which are devastating, difficult to detect, and are easy to carry out using as few as one malicious insider sending only protocol-compliant messages. In the worst case, a single Vampire can increase network-wide energy usage by a factor of O(N), where N in the number of network nodes. We discuss methods to mitigate these types of attacks, including a new proof-of-concept protocol that provably bounds the damage caused by Vampires during the packet forwarding phase.
Index Terms:
wireless sensor networks,access protocols,ad hoc networks,routing protocols,telecommunication security,packet forwarding phase,Vampire attacks,wireless ad hoc sensor networks,pervasive computing,medium access control levels,routing protocol layer,battery power,draining nodes,protocol-compliant messages,Routing,Routing protocols,Ad hoc networks,Network topology,Topology,Energy consumption,wireless networks,Denial of service,security,routing,ad hoc networks,sensor networks
Citation:
E. Y. Vasserman, N. Hopper, "Vampire Attacks: Draining Life from Wireless Ad Hoc Sensor Networks," IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 318-332, Feb. 2013, doi:10.1109/TMC.2011.274
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