Cryptographic key management architecture for dynamic 6LowPan networks

Ruben Smeets, K. Aerts, Nele Mentens, An Braeken, Laurent Segers, Abdellah Touhafi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper


Wireless sensors are an important facilitator for the Internet of Things. These embedded devices can harvest different types of information such as temperature, pressure and humidity, which offer important data for making decisions regarding various applications such as healthcare, logistics and smart homes. Different sensors working together act as a local sensor network. With the advent of the new 6LowPan standard the sensor nodes can even participate in Internet communications, opening up even more possibilities.

The counter-side is that these networks are more prone to intrusion by unwanted parties. Furthermore implementing security is not straightforward due to the constraint nature of the sensor nodes, although different solutions have been proposed. One of the remaining and most challenging issues is the key management problem. Symmetric key management is generally considered the best suited for wireless sensor networks, but none of the proposed solutions so far cover every scenario.

In this paper, we propose a symmetric key management scheme for wireless sensor networks that uses tamper-proof hardware for key generation and distribution. The scheme requires no deployment knowledge before enrolling and makes use of a trusted central entity for key negotiation to provide end-to-end security. Our implementation and evaluation were performed on the tiny Zolertia Z1 hardware platform, running Contiki. The performance and security evaluation show that our scheme requires a limited amount of storage and provides a good network resilience against node capture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Applied Informatics (ICAI) edition:9 location:Eger, Hungary date:29 January - 1 February 2014
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014
EventInternational Conference on Applied Informatics, ICAI 2014 - Eger, Hungary
Duration: 29 Jan 20141 Feb 2014

Publication series



ConferenceInternational Conference on Applied Informatics, ICAI 2014


  • Zolertia-Z1
  • 6LoWPAN
  • Cryptographic Key Management


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