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In wireless sensor networks, clustering sensor nodes into small groups is an effective technique to achieve scalability, self-organization, power saving, channel access, routing, etc. A number of cluster formation protocols have been proposed recently. However, most existing protocols assume benign environments, and are vulnerable to attacks from malicious nodes. In this paper, we propose a secure distributed cluster formation protocol to organize sensor networks into mutually disjoint cliques. Our protocol has the following properties: (1) normal nodes are divided into mutually disjoint cliques; (2) all the normal nodes in each clique agree on the same clique memberships; (3) while external attackers can be prevented from participating in the cluster formation process, inside attackers that do not follow the protocol semantics can be identified and removed from the network; (4) the communication overhead is moderate; (5) the protocol is fully distributed.
Date of Conference: Dec. 2006