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A novel biometrics method to secure wireless body area sensor networks for telemedicine and m-health

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3 Author(s)
C. C. Y. Poon ; Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong, Shatin, China ; Yuan-Ting Zhang ; Shu-Di Bao

The development of the wireless body area sensor network (BASN) is imperative for modern telemedicine and m-health, but security remains a formidable challenge yet to be resolved. As nodes of BASN are expected to be interconnected on or in the human body, the body itself can form an inherently secure communication pathway that is unavailable to all other kinds of wireless networks. This article explores the use of this conduit in the security mechanism of BASN; that is, by a biometrics approach that uses an intrinsic characteristic of the human body as the authentication identity or the means of securing the distribution of a cipher key to secure inter-BASN communications. The method was tested on 99 subjects with 838 segments of simultaneous recordings of electrocardiogram and photoplethysmogram. By using the interpulse interval (IPI) as the biometric trait, the system achieved a minimum half total error rate of 2.58 percent when the IPIs measured from signals, which were sampled at 1000 Hz, were coded into 128-bit binary sequences. The study opens up a few key issues for future investigation, including compensation schemes for the asynchrony of different channels, coding schemes, and other suitable biometric traits.

Published in:

IEEE Communications Magazine  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 4 )