ShortPK: A short-term public key scheme for broadcast authentication in sensor networks

Ronghua Wang, Wenliang Du, Xiaogang Liu, Peng Ning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Broadcast authentication is an important functionality in sensor networks. Energy constraints on sensor nodes and the real-time nature of the broadcasts render many of the existing solutions impractical: previous works focusing primarily on symmetric key schemes have difficulties in achieving real-time authentication. Public Key Cryptography (PKC), however, can satisfy the real-time requirements, and recent trends indicate that public key is becoming feasible for sensor networks. However, PKC operations are still expensive computations. It is impractical to use PKC in the conventional ways for broadcast authentication in sensor networks. To reduce costs, we propose ShortPK, an efficient Short-term Public Key broadcast authentication scheme. The basic idea is to use short-length public/private keys, but limit their lifetime to only a short period of time. To cover a long period of time, we need to use many public/private key pairs; distributing these public keys to sensors is a challenging problem. We describe a progressive key distribution scheme that is secure, efficient, and packet-loss resilient. We compare our scheme with the traditional 160-bit ECC public key schemes, and show that our scheme can achieve a significant improvement on energy consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Communication
  • Public key
  • Sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'ShortPK: A short-term public key scheme for broadcast authentication in sensor networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this