Enlighten Me! Secure Key Assignment in Wireless Sensor Networks

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Executive Summary

The availability of secret keys is a precondition for the use of many security solutions and protocols. However, securely assigning such keys to nodes is a challenging task in the context of wireless sensor networks. In this paper, the authors present a novel solution for a secure key assignment in wireless sensor networks that can be used during the initial configuration of nodes or for an ad-hoc key assignment by mobile nodes. The idea is to transmit the key information over a side channel using a controllable light source as the sender and the light sensors available on wireless sensor nodes as receivers. They demonstrate that the solution fulfills the relevant security requirements while at the same time being cost effective and easy to use.

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