Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Kaveh Pahlavan, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Berk Sunar, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Muxiang Zhang, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Wenjing Lou, Advisor




A wireless sensor network (WSN) usually consists of a large number of small, low-cost devices that have limited energy supply, computation, memory, and communication capacities. Recently, WSNs have drawn a lot of attention due to their broad applications in both military and civilian domains. Communication security is essential to the success of WSN applications, especially for those mission-critical applications working in unattended and even hostile environments. However, providing satisfactory security protection in WSNs has ever been a challenging task due to various network & resource constraints and malicious attacks. This motivates the research on communication security for WSNs. This dissertation studies communication security in WSNs with respect to three important aspects. The first study addresses broadcast/multicast security in WSNs. We propose a multi-user broadcast authentication technique, which overcomes the security vulnerability of existing solutions. The proposed scheme guarantees immediate broadcast authentication by employing public key cryptography, and achieves the efficiency through integrating various techniques from different domains. We also address multicast encryption to solve data confidentiality concern for secure multicast. We propose an efficient multicast key management scheme supporting a wide range of multicast semantics, which utilizes the fact that sensors are both routers and end-receivers. The second study addresses data report security in WSNs. We propose a location-aware end-to-end security framework for WSNs, in which secret keys are bound to geographic locations so that the impact of sensor compromise are limited only to their vicinity. The proposed scheme effectively defeats not only bogus data injection attacks but also various DoS attacks. In this study, we also address event boundary detection as a specific case of secure data aggregation in WSNs. We propose a secure and fault-tolerant event boundary detection scheme, which securely detects the boundaries of large spatial events in a localized statistic manner. The third study addresses random key pre-distribution in WSNs. We propose a keyed-hash-chain-based key pool generation technique, which leads to a more efficient key pre-distribution scheme with better security resilience in the case of sensor compromise.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Defense, Attack, Wireless Sensor Networks, Communication, Security, Wireless communication systems, Security measures, Computer networks, Security measures