A Survey on Public Key Mechanism in Wireless Sensor Networks


Computer Science

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© 2020, Science Press. All right reserved. Internet of Things (IoT) is a research hotspot in academia and industry. As one of the main components of IoT, the security of WSNs (Wireless Sensor Networks) is closely related to people's life security and privacy. In the past nearly 20 years, the security of WSNs has been studied extensively and deeply. From the initial infeasible consciousness to the present extensive researches and applications, the feasibility of public key mechanism in WSNs has been recognized gradually by scholars. However, there are still many problems that need to be further explored, such as whether the public key mechanism can be fully deployed in WSNs, what problems it brings after being introduced into WSNs, and what remains unresolved. In this paper, the high-quality literature on public key mechanism researches in WSNs have been collected and classified into four categories: Primitive, Key Management, Authentication and Access Control, and other applications. The necessity, feasibility, and related issues and challenges of introducing public key mechanism into WSNs have been summarized. Moreover, the existing feasible solutions addressing the aforementioned challenges have been analyzed comprehensively in this paper. According to the existing researches we find that: (1)Considering key length, speed, security, etc. the most suitable public key mechanism for WSNs is ECC(Elliptic Curve Cryptography). The fastest scalar multiplication in the existing implementation schemes of ECC primitives only takes 0.29s on MCAz platform with security level ECC163, which was achieved by Aranha et al. of Oliveira project team in 2010. (2)As for the WSN applications with high security requirements, it is necessary to employee a public key mechanism for key agreement. AKA(Authenticated Key Agreement) scheme based on pairing-free certificateless public key mechanism is the most promising scheme. And the CL-EKM scheme recently proposed by Seo et al. has comprehensive advantages among the existing AKA schemes for WSNs. (3)Among the authentication and access control schemes, Ke et al.'s external authentication scheme, Jiang et al.'s three-factor authentication scheme, and Ren, Shim et al.'s external user broadcast authentication scheme are the most representative. Finally, the research directions and probable solutions are prospected. (1)NTRU with high efficiency, anti-quantum attack and lattice-based theory may become the most important public key primitive in WSNs in the future after solving the problem of high storage and communication load caused by the long keys. (2)AKA scheme based on certificateless public key mechanism without pairing operation is becoming a hot topic in the current low-cost and high-efficiency AKA research. (3)In the public key mechanisms of authentication and access control, AKA is the basis of authentication mechanism for internal nodes. While in the access control of external users, access control technologies based on three or even multiple factors such as passwords, memory cards, biometrics and other factors are becoming a research hotspot. Furthermore, broadcast authentication is also an important research direction in this field. (4)In addition, public key-based schemes have also received widespread attention in the field of security research in medical and healthcare applications. In summary, with the deepening of security researches, public key mechanism is increasingly becoming an important fundamental tool to ensuring security in WSNs, especially in the case of high security requirements.

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Jisuanji Xuebao/Chinese Journal of Computers

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