Safety in Wireless Sensor Networks: Types of Attacks and Solutions
Héctor KASCHEL, José MARDONES, Gustavo QUEZADA
Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica, Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Avenida Bdo. O’Higgins 3363, Estación Central, Santiago, Chile
Abstract: Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) are highly vulnerable in their security. They are generally deployed in hostile environments to collect different kinds of data, so they are exposed to serious physical and software attacks. Therefore, developing methods to increase security becomes an essential aspect of the study of these networks. WSNs are used in military, medical and biological applications, among others. This paper analyzes the security requirements of WSNs, the main attacks, and their main characteristics; finally it reviews some security methods currently proposed or implemented in these networks, and identifies the possible types of security attacks that can affect the layers of the OSI Reference Model.
Keywords: Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), Types of attacks.
CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Héctor KASCHEL, José MARDONES, Gustavo QUEZADA, Safety in Wireless Sensor Networks: Types of Attacks and Solutions, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 22 (3), pp. 323-330, 2013.
Wireless Sensor Networks are formed by a large number of small nodes, which consume low levels of energy and are low cost. These sensors are easy to deploy in an area designed for wireless networks performing specific functions. The fact that these networks are formed by a large number of nodes allows them to be used in industrial environments to carry out the control functions. Their configuration makes it possible for the sensors to be located abundantly, at all points of interest, and at a low cost. These kinds of networks also offer the same services and advantages as normal wireless networks. Because of the low cost of the nodes, it is possible to reconfigure them or adapt them to specific access points, providing access to a larger network such as, for example, the Internet.
Rapid technological advances cause products and services to vary constantly, forcing industry to satisfy those variable demands for the number and diversity of products. To fulfil those requirements, industry must develop two basic concepts: flexible manufacturing and processes. In this context, wireless networks can contribute process flexibility by offering mobility and control independent of the physical location of the process. They also offer control for processes in motion or for moving parts; they offer access to places that are inaccessible to wired networks, and provide safety with respect to broken wires. Figure 1 shows the main applications of wireless sensor networks.
On the other hand, industrial processes must offer high energy availability and efficiency so as to satisfy the associated production requirements. A lack of availability may mean great economic loss caused by stopping some highly important production line, or even worse, the whole production process. Also, the system must have a high level of security so that there is no change in information at any time.
Section 2 analyzes the security requirements; section 3 shows the different types of security attacks and their impact on the wireless sensors; section 4 describes some proposed designs and security solutions used for WSNs; section 5 provides a security approach based on the layers of the OSI Reference Model; and finally section 6 gives the conclusions of this research work.
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