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TinyPK: Securing Sensor Networks With Public Key Technology

Ronald J. Watro, D. Kong, Sue-fen Cuti, Charles Gardiner, C. Lynn, P. Kruus
Published 2004 · Computer Science

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Wireless networks of miniaturized, low-power sensor/actuator devices are poised to become widely used in commercial and military environments. The communication security problems for these networks are exacerbated by the limited power and energy of the sensor devices. In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of public-key-(PK)-based protocols that allow authentication and key agreement between a sensor network and a third party as well as between two sensor networks. Our work is novel in that PK technology was commonly believed to be too inefficient for use on low-power devices. As part of our solution, we exploit the efficiency of public operations in the RSA cryptosystem and design protocols that place the computationally expensive operations on the parties external to the sensor network, when possible. Our protocols have been implemented on UC Berkeley MICA2 motes using the TinyOS development environment.
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