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The cluster-based routing of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) requires secure, robust protocols for wireless communication. Unfortunately, existing protocols are unsuitable due to the limited storage space of nodes. Although symmetric-key-based solutions have been available, all of them suffer from possible severe attacks, and the problem of limited storage space. These issues are truly critical in WSNs. In this paper, a low storage authentication protocol (LSAP) is introduced to reduce the size requirement of authenticated keys, and thus to save the storage space. Moreover, security flaws are effectively avoided in the proposed protocol. Building upon a double-level key chain mechanism and message authentication code (MAC), the proposed LSAP includes two authentication phases: Base Station-node (BS-node) broadcast, and cluster head-member node. A quantitative analysis demonstrates that our proposed approach can balance the requirements of security and storage space.