Open Access Research Article

Mobility and Cooperation to Thwart Node Capture Attacks in MANETs

Mauro Conti1*, Roberto Di Pietro23, LuigiV Mancini4 and Alessandro Mei4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 UNESCO Chair in Data Privacy, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, 43700 Tarragona, Spain

3 Dipartimento di Matematica, Università di Roma Tre, 00146 Roma, Italy

4 Dipartimento di Informatica, Università di Roma "Sapienza", 00198 Roma, Italy

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EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking 2009, 2009:945943  doi:10.1155/2009/945943

Published: 13 September 2009


The nature of mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), often unattended, makes this type of networks subject to some unique security issues. In particular, one of the most vexing problem for MANETs security is the node capture attack: an adversary can capture a node from the network eventually acquiring all the cryptographic material stored in it. Further, the captured node can be reprogrammed by the adversary and redeployed in the network in order to perform malicious activities. In this paper, we address the node capture attack in MANETs. We start from the intuition that mobility, in conjunction with a reduced amount of local cooperation, helps computing effectively and with a limited resource usage network global security properties. Then, we develop this intuition and use it to design a mechanism to detect the node capture attack. We support our proposal with a wide set of experiments showing that mobile networks can leverage mobility to compute global security properties, like node capture detection, with a small overhead.