Proactive mitigation of impact of wormholes and sinkholes on routing security in energy-efficient wireless sensor networks

Huzaifa Al Nahas, Jitender S. Deogun, Eric D. Manley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Sensor networks are deployed in a variety of environments for unattended operation. In a hostile terrain, sensor nodes are vulnerable to node capture and cryptographic material compromise. Compromised nodes can be used for launching wormhole and sinkhole attacks in order to prevent sensitive data from reaching intended destinations. Our objective in this paper is mitigating the impact of undetected compromised nodes on routing. To this end, we develop metrics for quantifying risk of paths in a network. We then introduce a novel routing approach: Secure-Path Routing (SPR) that uses expected path risk as a parameter in routing. Quantified path risk values are used in routing to reduce traffic flow over nodes that have high expected vulnerability. Selecting low risk routes may lead to the choice of energy-expensive routes. Thus, we develop algorithms for balancing risk with other path selection parameters, including energy consumption. We conduct simulation experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of our approach and study the tradeoff between security and energy. Simulation shows that SPR can be quite effective at increasing traffic flow over legitimate routes and that the impact of SPR on network lifetime is negligible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-441
Number of pages11
JournalWireless Networks
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2009



  • Energy-efficiency
  • Secure routing
  • Sensor networks
  • Wormhole attacks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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