Security in Sensor Networks

With the growing accessibility of sensor systems and a vision of their full integration into an Internet of Things they are also becoming target for cyber-attacks. Already today, in many applications sensor and control data must be protected to prevent unauthorized manipulation during processing and transmission on publicly accessible networks or during wireless transmission. Although security is often seen as a feature that can arbitrarily be added or omitted, it takes careful planning throughout the development of a sensor system in order to get reliable and efficient security mechanisms. Analogue to the integration of a sensor, all system aspects, starting with hardware design and packaging to protocol decisions and connection to the back-end system, have to be considered to fulfill the demanded security requirements.

„Particularly important for sensor systems is fitting security mechanism and the limited resources available. A research focus is matching both worlds, e.g., by investigating analog protection of sensor values to guarantee full end-to-end security.“

Security research at the Center for Distributed Systems and Sensor Networks focuses on the design of security mechanisms for these resource-limited embedded sensor and control systems that require dedicated protection strategies to maintain system performance, scalability, and dependability in a machine-centric environment without human interaction.

Embedded sensor and control systems require highly efficient implementation of protection strategies, which at the same time need to provide equivalent strength compared with proven user-centric and resource-intensive IT security mechanisms. Major challenges for implementation of security measures on sensor systems are strongly restricted computational and memory resources, limited execution speed and strict requirements on energy consumption (low-energy design).

The research goal is to adapt and combine security measures in such a way that sensor data can be protected without sacrificing system and resource efficiency, yet be strong enough to withstand attackers usually not limited in their resources. 

Contact: Albert Treytl

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