An efficient scheme for authenticating public keys in sensor networks

Wenliang Du, Ronghua Wang, Peng Ning

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

149 Scopus citations

Abstract

With the advance of technology, Public Key Cryptography (PKC) will sooner or later be widely used in wireless sensor networks. Recently, it has been shown that the performance of some public-key algorithms, such as Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), is already close to being practical on sensor nodes. However, the energy consumption of PKC is still expensive, especially compared to symmetric-key algorithms. To maximize the lifetime of batteries, we should minimize the use of PKC whenever possible in sensor networks. This paper investigates how to replace one of the important PKC operations-the public key authentication-with symmetric key operations that are much more efficient. Public key authentication is to verify the authenticity of another party's public key to make sure that the public key is really owned by the person it is claimed to belong to. In PKC, this operation involves an expensive signature verification on a certificate. We propose an efficient alternative that uses one-way hash function only. Our scheme uses all sensor's public keys to construct a forest of Merkle trees of different heights. By optimally selecting the height of each tree, we can minimize the computation and communication costs. The performance of our scheme is evaluated in the paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages58-67
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005
EventMOBIHOC 2005: 6th ACM International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing - Urbana-Champaign, IL, United States
Duration: May 25 2005May 28 2005

Conference

ConferenceMOBIHOC 2005: 6th ACM International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing
CountryUnited States
CityUrbana-Champaign, IL
Period5/25/055/28/05

Keywords

  • Deployment knowledge
  • Merkle tree
  • Public key
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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