Authenticated Communication and Computation in Known-Topology Networks With a Trusted Authority

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Executive Summary

The authors show that two distinguishing properties of sensor networks, i.e., the presence of a trusted base station, and the pre-knowledge of the fixed network topology, can yield security protocols that are both communication-efficient and highly general. They show new protocols for broadcast authentication, credential dissemination and node-to-node signatures. For securing in-network distributed computations, they show an algorithm for securely computing the sum of sensor readings in the network, which they can generalize to tree computations for any combination of continuous real-valued functions. Each of these primitives involves per-node communication costs that scale logarithmically with the number of nodes in the network, do not require public key cryptography, and are secure against arbitrary coalitions of malicious nodes.

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