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An Epidemic Theoretic Framework for Vulnerability Analysis of Broadcast Protocols in Wireless Sensor Networks

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3 Author(s)
De, P. ; Sentilla Corp., Redwood City, CA ; Yonghe Liu ; Das, S.K.

While multi-hop broadcast protocols, such as Trickle, Deluge and MNP, have gained tremendous popularity as a means for fast and convenient propagation of data/code in large scale wireless sensor networks, they can, unfortunately, serve as potential platforms for virus spreading if the security is breached. To understand the vulnerability of such protocols and design defense mechanisms against piggy-backed virus attacks, it is critical to investigate the propagation process of these protocols in terms of their speed and reachability. In this paper, we propose a general framework based on the principles of epidemic theory, for vulnerability analysis of current broadcast protocols in wireless sensor networks. In particular, we develop a common mathematical model for the propagation that incorporates important parameters derived from the communication patterns of the protocol under test. Based on this model, we analyze the propagation rate and the extent of spread of a malware over typical broadcast protocols proposed in the literature. The overall result is an approximate but convenient tool to characterize a broadcast protocol in terms of its vulnerability to malware propagation. We have also performed extensive simulations which have validated our model.

Published in:

Mobile Computing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 3 )