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Establishing trust among distributed network entities has been recognized as a powerful tool to secure distributed networks such as MANETs and sensor networks. Similar to most security schemes, trust establishment methods themselves can be vulnerable to attacks. In this article we investigate the benefits of introducing trust into distributed networks, the vulnerabilities in trust establishment methods, and the defense mechanisms. Five attacks against trust establishment methods are identified, and defense techniques are developed. Effectiveness of the attacks and the defense is demonstrated in the scenarios of securing routing protocols and detecting malicious nodes in MANETs.
Date of Publication: February 2008