Automated Adversarial Testing of Unmodified Wireless Routing Implementations

Endadul Hoque, Hyojeong Lee, Rahul Potharaju, Charles Killian, Cristina Nita-Rotaru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Numerous routing protocols have been designed and subjected to model checking and simulations. However, model checking the design or testing the simulator-based prototype of a protocol does not guarantee that the implementation is free of bugs and vulnerabilities. Testing implementations beyond their basic functionality (also known as adversarial testing) can increase protocol robustness. We focus on automated adversarial testing of real-world implementations of wireless routing protocols. In our previous work we created Turret, a platform that uses a network emulator and virtualization to test unmodified binaries of general distributed systems. Based on Turret, we create Turret-W designed specifically for wireless routing protocols. Turret-W includes new functionalities such as differentiating routing messages from data messages to enable evaluation of attacks on the control plane and the data plane separately, support for several additional protocols (e.g., those that use homogeneous/heterogenous packet formats, those that run on geographic forwarding (not just IP), those that operate at the data link layer instead of the network layer), support for several additional attacks (e.g., replay attacks) and for establishment of adversarial side-channels that allow for collusion. Turret-W can test not only general routing attacks, but also wireless specific attacks such as wormhole. Using Turret-W on publicly available implementations of five representative routing protocols, we (re-)discovered 37 attacks and 3 bugs. All these bugs and 5 of the total attacks were not previously reported to the best of our knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7401140
Pages (from-to)3369-3382
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Automatic testing
  • routing protocols
  • security
  • wireless communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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