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Sinkhole Avoidance Routing in Wireless Sensor Networks

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Trident Scholar Project rept. no. 401

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Wireless sensor networks, or WSNs, are an emerging commercial technology that may have practical applications on the modern battlefield. A wireless sensor network consists of individual sensor nodes that work cooperatively to collect and communicate environmental data. In a surveillance role, a WSN could be deployed across a geographic area of interest, allowing military commanders to monitor enemy troop positions and movements. Wireless sensor networks have enormous potential as an information gathering tool, but they also present many unique challenges to security engineers. An adversary can easily capture and tamper with one of the many unguarded sensor nodes to disrupt or significantly degrade the quality of surveillance that the WSN provides. This project examined potential attacks against WSNs and developed a modified routing protocol that increases the overall data integrity and reliability of wireless sensor networks. Due to battery limitations of individual sensor nodes, many WSN protocols seek to conserve power by simplifying computations and reducing the number of radio transmissions required for communication. These practices allow the WSN to have a longer life expectancy however, such protocols are easy targets for enemy exploitation. In what is known as a sinkhole attack, a comprised sensor node is maliciously used to alter the wireless mesh of a sensor network for the purpose of disrupting the logical flow of information across the network. The purpose of this project is to minimize the disruption from such an attack. We have proposed modifications to an existing tree based routing protocol so that it attempts to avoid sinkholes and increase the over-all data throughput of the network by sacrificing some of the networks transmission efficiency. The efficacy of the projects proposed sinkhole avoidance strategy is also supported through the use of software based WSN network simulations.

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  • Computer Systems Management and Standards

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