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Security in Mobile

Ad Hoc Networks
Thao p Le
Department of Computer Sciences,
Wichita State University

Outline of Presentation

Induction to MANET (Mobile Ad-Hoc

Ad Hoc Networks Architecture
Attacks to Ad Hoc Networks
Challenge of Ad Hoc Networks
Security Solution


Ad hoc networks are collections of mobile nodes with

links that are made or broken in an arbitrary way.
No centralized controller and infrastructure.
Allows free mobility
Node acts as host and router to assist in
transmitting data to other nodes in its range.
Can be quickly and inexpensively setup
Applications: military, emergency and disaster

MANETs: Advantages

Can access information and services regardless

of geographic position
Can set up computer networks at any place and

Ad Hoc Networks Architecture

Rapid setup time

Ad hoc mode only needs the setting up of radio
network interface card (NICs) in the user devices.
Better performance possible
The question of performance with ad hoc mode is
certainly doubtful.
Limited network access.
There is no distribution system with ad hoc wireless
LANs, users dont have effective access to the internet
and other wired network services.

Ad Hoc Networks Architecture


Difficult network management

Network management becomes a headache with
ad hoc networks because of the fluidity of the
network topology and lack of a centralized

Attacks to Ad Hoc Networks

Two types of attacks target Ad Hoc network

External attacks:
MAC layer jamming
Traffic analysis

Internal attacks:
Compromised host sending false routing information
Fake authentication and authorization
Traffic flooding

Challenge of Ad Hoc Networks

Dynamic topology

Heterogeneous and decentralized control

Limited resources

Movement, node failure, etc.

Bandwidth, processing ability, energy

Unfriendly environment

Selfish nodes, malicious attackers

Challenge of Ad Hoc Networks


Authentication and accounting

Security concern

Open medium without any centralized control

Real time services

No fixed membership

Dynamic topology and slow routing information distribution

Limited bandwidth

Congestion is typically the norm rather than the exception.

Problems with Security Measures

Deficiencies of intrusion prevention

Increases the overhead during normal operations of

Ad Hoc networks
Restriction on power consumption and computation
capability prevent the usage of complex encryption
Flat infrastructure increases the difficulty for the key
management and distribution
Cannot guard against internal attacks

Security Solution

The Multi-fence Approach in Security Solution

The proactive approach attempts to prevent security

threats in the first place.
The reactive approach seeks to detect threats a
posteriori (derived by reasoning from observed facts)
and react accordingly. The reactive approach is
widely used to protect packet forwarding operations.

Security Solution (cont.)

Ad hoc Secure Routing

Source Node Routing( DSR)

Distance Vector Routing (DSDV and AODV)
Link State Routing: Secure Link State Routing (SLSP)
Other Routing Protocols: ARAN


The research on MANET security is still in its early stage. The

existing proposals are typically attack-oriented in that they first
identify several security threats and then enhance the existing
protocol or propose a new protocol to thwart such threats.
Because the solutions are designed explicitly with certain attack
models in mind, they work well in the presence of designated
attacks but may collapse under anticipated attacks. Therefore, a
more ambitious goal for ad hoc network security is to develop a
multi-fence security solution that is embedded into possibly
every component in the network, resulting in in-depth protection
that offers multiple lines of defense against many both known
and unknown security threats.


[1] Cavin et al., "On the accuracy of MANET simulators," Proc. ACM
Workshop on Princ. Mobile Computing
[2] K.-W. Chin, et al., "Implementation Experience with MANET Routing
Protocols," ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communications Review, Nov. 2002, pp.
49-59. Available online.
[3] Frodigh, et al, "Wireless Ad Hoc Networking: The Art of Networking
without a Network," Ericsson Review, No. 4, 2000. online. [4] M. S. Corson et
al., "Internet-Based Mobile Ad Hoc Networking," IEEE Internet Computing,
July-August 1999
[5] C. Elliott and B. Heile, "Self-Organizing, Self-Healing Wireless Networks,"
Proc. 2000 IEEE
[6] K. Kim, "A New Mobile Environment: Mobile Ad Hoc Networks
[7] C. Perkins and E Royer, Ad Hoc On-Demand Distance Vector Routing,
2nd IEEE Wksp. Mobile Comp. Sys.and Apps., 1999