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A wireless sensor network (WSN) typically consists of a large number of small sensor nodes and one or more high-end control and data aggregation nodes. Sensor nodes have limited computation and communication capabilities, and communicate via wireless links. Consequently, WSNs are highly vulnerable to attacks. This vulnerability is exacerbated when WSNs have to operate unattended in a hostile environment, such as battlefields. In this paper, we propose a novel self-organizing key management scheme for large-scale WSNs, called Sunivable and efficient clustered keying (SECK). Our scheme was designed specifically to address the key management issues within the low-tier of a hierarchical network architecture. Previous approaches for WSN key management adequately addressed operational issues, but to a large extent, ignored robustness and recoverability issues. Using simulation and analysis, we show that SECK is highly robust against key and node captures, and has noteworthy advantages over other key management schemes.
Date of Conference: 7-9 April 2005