Skip to Main Content
Most wireless ad hoc sensor networks are susceptible to routing level attacks, in which an adversary masquerades as a legitimate node to convince neighboring nodes that it is the "logical" next hop or is on a "better" path for forwarding packets, and arbitrarily drops the packets forwarded by neighboring nodes. In this paper, we propose a secure unicast messaging protocol (SUMP) for wireless ad hoc sensor networks to mitigate the threat of routing level attacks. SUMP groups nodes into levels based on hop count to provide hop-by-hop group authentication using Merkel hash trees. This method allows for varied levels of security in accordance with a node's hop count from the base station and secure, directed unicast communications from the base station to individual nodes. Unlike other sensor network security protocols that require the storage of parent node information, a sensor node running SUMP does not store parent node information, therefore preventing an adversary from gaining information of other nodes from a compromised node.