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Protecting the network layer from malicious attacks is an important yet challenging security issue in mobile ad hoc networks. In this paper, we describe SCAN, a unified network-layer security solution for such networks that protects both routing and data forwarding operations through the same reactive approach. SCAN does not apply any cryptographic primitives on the routing messages. Instead, it protects the network by detecting and reacting to the malicious nodes. In SCAN, local neighboring nodes collaboratively monitor each other and sustain each other, while no single node is superior to the others. SCAN also adopts a novel credit strategy to decrease its overhead as time evolves. In essence, SCAN exploits localized collaboration and information cross-validation to protect the network in a self-organized manner. Through both analysis and simulation results, we demonstrate the effectiveness of SCAN even in a highly mobile and hostile environment.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2006