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Data security and privacy in wireless body area networks

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3 Author(s)
Ming Li ; WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE ; Wenjing Lou ; Kui Ren

The wireless body area network has emerged as a new technology for e-healthcare that allows the data of a patient's vital body parameters and movements to be collected by small wearable or implantable sensors and communicated using short-range wireless communication techniques. WBAN has shown great potential in improving healthcare quality, and thus has found a wide range of applications from ubiquitous health monitoring and computer assisted rehabilitation to emergency medical response systems. The security and privacy protection of the data collected from a WBAN, either while stored inside the WBAN or during their transmission outside of the WBAN, is a major unsolved concern, with challenges coming from stringent resource constraints of WBAN devices, and the high demand for both security/privacy and practicality/usability. In this article we look into two important data security issues: secure and dependable distributed data storage, and fine-grained distributed data access control for sensitive and private patient medical data. We discuss various practical issues that need to be taken into account while fulfilling the security and privacy requirements. Relevant solutions in sensor networks and WBANs are surveyed, and their applicability is analyzed.

Published in:

IEEE Wireless Communications  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 1 )