Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Random Key Predistribution Schemes for Sensor Networks

Haowen Chan, Adrian perrig, Dawn Song

April 2003

Keywords: Sensor network, key distribution, random key predistribution, key establsihment, node revocation, authentication

Key establishment in sensor networks is a challenging problem because asymmetric key cryptosystems are unsuitable for use in resource constrained sensor nodes, and also because the nodes could be physically compromised by an adversary. We present three new mechanisms for key establishment using the frame-work of pre-distributing a random set of keys to each node. First, in the q-composite keys scheme, we trade off the unlikeliness of a large-scale network attack in order to significantly strengthen random key predistribution s strength against smaller-scale attacks. Second, in the multipath-reinforcement scheme, we show how to strengthen the security between any two nodes by leveraging the security of other links. Finally, we present the random-pairwise keys scheme, which perfectly preserves the secrecy of the rest of the network when any node is captured, and also enables node-to-node authentication and quorum-based revocation.

28 pages

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