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Distributed embedded systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable to attack as they are connected to external networks. Unfortunately, they often have no built-in authentication capability. Multicast authentication mechanisms required to secure embedded networks must function within the unique constraints of these systems, making it difficult to apply previously proposed schemes. The authors propose an authentication approach using message authentication codes which exploits the time-triggered nature of many embedded systems by putting only a few authentication code bits in each message, and by requiring authentication to be confirmed by the correct reception of multiple messages.
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