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Detecting and avoiding wormhole attacks in wireless ad hoc networks

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3 Author(s)
Nait-Abdesselam, F. ; Univ. of Sci. & Technol. of Lille, Lille, France ; Bensaou, B. ; Taleb, T.

A particularly severe attack on routing protocols in ad hoc networks is the so-called worm- hole attack in which two or more colluding attackers record packets at one location, and tunnel them to another location for replay at that remote location. When this attack targets specifically routing control packets, the nodes that are close to the attackers are shielded from any alternative routes with more than one or two hops to the remote location. All routes are thus directed to the wormhole established by the attackers. In the optimized link state routing protocol, if a wormhole attack is launched during the propagation of link state packets, the wrong link information percolates throughout the network, leading to routing disruption. In this article we devise an efficient method to detect and avoid wormhole attacks in the OLSR protocOLSR protocolol. This method first attempts to pinpoint links that may potentially be part of a wormhole tunnel. Then a proper wormhole detection mechanism is applied to suspicious links by means of an exchange of encrypted probing packets between the two supposed neighbors (endpoints of the wormhole). The proposed solution exhibits several advantages, among which are its nonreliance on any time synchronization or location information, and its high detection rate under various scenarios.

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 4 )