Network Coding based Information Security in Multi-hop Wireless Networks
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Multi-hop Wireless Networks (MWNs) represent a class of networks where messages are forwarded through multiple hops of wireless transmission. Applications of this newly emerging communication paradigm include asset monitoring wireless sensor networks (WSNs), command communication mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), community- or campus-wide wireless mesh networks (WMNs), etc. Information security is one of the major barriers to the wide-scale deployment of MWNs but has received little attention so far. On the one hand, due to the open wireless channels and multi-hop wireless transmissions, MWNs are vulnerable to various information security threats such as eavesdropping, data injection/modification, node compromising, traffic analysis, and flow tracing. On the other hand, the characteristics of MWNs including the vulnerability of intermediate network nodes, multi-path packet forwarding, and limited computing capability and storage capacity make the existing information security schemes designed for the conventional wired networks or single-hop wireless networks unsuitable for MWNs. Therefore, newly designed schemes are highly desired to meet the stringent security and performance requirements for the information security of MWNs. In this research, we focus on three fundamental information security issues in MWNs: efficient privacy preservation for source anonymity, which is critical to the information security of MWNs; the traffic explosion issue, which targets at preventing denial of service (DoS) and enhancing system availability; and the cooperative peer-to-peer information exchange issue, which is critical to quickly achieve maximum data availability if the base station is temporarily unavailable or the service of the base station is intermittent. We have made the following three major contributions. Firstly, we identify the severe threats of traffic analysis/flow tracing attacks to the information security in network coding enabled MWNs. To prevent these attacks and achieve source anonymity in MWNs, we propose a network coding based privacy-preserving scheme. The unique “mixing” feature of network coding is exploited in the proposed scheme to confuse adversaries from conducting advanced privacy attacks, such as time correlation, size correlation, and message content correlation. With homomorphic encryption functions, the proposed scheme can achieve both privacy preservation and data confidentiality, which are two critical information security requirements. Secondly, to prevent traffic explosion and at the same time achieve source unobservability in MWNs, we propose a network coding based privacy-preserving scheme, called SUNC (Source Unobservability using Network Coding). Network coding is utilized in the scheme to automatically absorb dummy messages at intermediate network nodes, and thus, traffic explosion induced denial of service (DoS) can be naturally prevented to ensure the system availability. In addition to ensuring system availability and achieving source unobservability, SUNC can also thwart internal adversaries. Thirdly, to enhance the data availability when a base station is temporarily unavailable or the service of the base station is intermittent, we propose a cooperative peer-to-peer information exchange scheme based on network coding. The proposed scheme can quickly accomplish optimal information exchange in terms of throughput and transmission delay. For each research issue, detailed simulation results in terms of computational overhead, transmission efficiency, and communication overhead, are given to demonstrate the efficacy and efficiency of the proposed solutions.