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Martin Passing, "Experimentelle Evaluierung von Sicherheitsmechanismen für drahtlose Sensornetze," Bachelor Thesis, Department of Computer Science, Friedrich–Alexander University of Erlangen–Nuremberg (FAU), November 2006. (Advisor: Falko Dressler)


Security in Wireless Sensor Networks is an area which has yet not been examined accurately. In the research area there is usually no need to communicate securely, but the more practical applications are developed, the more arises the need to imply these issues. The question, resulting from that demand, is if sensor nodes are able to deal with cryptographic algorithms at acceptable performance. This is a nontrivial issue, as their capabilities are very limited in contrast to conventional hardware. In this work, I used BTnodes, sensor nodes developed at the ETH Zurich1, to evaluate several cryptographic algorithms experimentally. I chose the symmetric encryption algorithm AES and the hashing algorithms MD5 and SHA-1, and adapted corresponding libraries to run on the 8-bit-architecture of the nodes. To evaluate these algorithms, I created functions enabling time measurement on the nodes, to determine their duration under several conditions. I also developed a testing procedure allowing to initiate test series and record several lists of measurement readings through a terminal program running on a PC connected to a node. Beside to determining the maximum performance that the cryptographic algorithms could achieve on the BTnode, I also wanted to show the impact of concurrent activities. In respect of these objectives, different test series were performed: On the one hand repeated measurements were taken to be able to filter out errors. On the other, the performance of the algorithms was determined using single measurements in several scenarios involving concurrent activivies, such as wireless communication or sensor measurements. The tests recognized remarkably high execution times for the algorithms, leading to the conclusion that performing adequate security in wireless sensor networks is very expensive.

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Martin Passing

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    author = {Passing, Martin},
    title = {{Experimentelle Evaluierung von Sicherheitsmechanismen f{\"{u}}r drahtlose Sensornetze}},
    advisor = {Dressler, Falko},
    institution = {Department of Computer Science},
    location = {Erlangen, Germany},
    month = {11},
    school = {Friedrich--Alexander University of Erlangen--Nuremberg (FAU)},
    type = {Bachelor Thesis},
    year = {2006},

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