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Wireless medical sensor networks (MSNs) enable ubiquitous health monitoring of users during their everyday life, at home or at hospital, without restricting their freedom. MSNs improve therefore userspsila wellbeing and help to quickly react during emergency situations. Security is a key requirement to guarantee safety and privacy of MSN users. However, the resource-constrained nature of the sensor nodes and the operational requirements of these networks hinder the use of traditional security methods. This paper presents a lightweight security system allowing for distributed key establishment and access control in MSNs. The heart of our system is founded on the use of polynomial-based key distribution systems. The security system enables lightweight distributed key agreement and verification of cryptographically signed information, e.g., access control roles or identifiers, on medical sensor nodes without the need of public-key cryptography or a central online trust center. As proof-of-concept, we have implemented our security system on a commercial sensor node platform. Our performance and security analysis shows the feasibility of our approach to deploy resilient and robust MSNs.
Date of Conference: 15-18 Dec. 2008