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TIme-Based DynamiC Keying and En-Route Filtering (TICK) for Wireless Sensor Networks

Given that transmission cost is significant in a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN), sending explicit keying control messages significantly increases the amount of energy consumed by each sensing device. Thus, in this paper, we address the issue of security for WSNs from a completely novel perspective. We present a technique to secure the network, without the transmission of explicit keying messages needed to avoid stale keys. Our protocol, the TIme-Based DynamiC Keying and En-Route Filtering (TICK) protocol for WSNs secures events as they occur. As opposed to current chatty schemes that incur regular keying message overhead, nodes use their local time values as a one-time dynamic key to encrypt each message. Further, this mechanism prevents malicious nodes from injecting false packets into the network. TICK is as a worst case twice more energy efficient than existing related work. Both an analytical framework and simulation results are presented to verify the feasibility of TICK as well as the energy consumption of the scheme under normal operation and attack from malicious nodes.