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Wormhole attacks enable an attacker with limited resources and no cryptographic material to disrupt wireless networks. In a wormhole attack, an attacker records packets (or bits) at one location in the network, tunnels them (possibly selectively) to another location and retransmits them there into the network. In this paper, we present an algorithm for detecting and thus defending against wormhole attacks in wireless multi-hop networks. This algorithm uses only local and neighborhood information without requiring clock synchronization, location information or dedicated hardware. Moreover, the algorithm is independent of wireless communication models. We present simulation results for grid-like topologies and for random topologies and show that the algorithm is able to detect wormhole attacks in all cases whereas the number of false alarms (false detections) decreases rapidly if the network is sufficiently dense.
Date of Conference: 15-18 Sept. 2008