Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI

Konrad Felix-Krentz

A Denial-of-Sleep-Resilient medium Access control Layer for IEEE 802.15.4 Networks

With the emergence of the Internet of things (Ion plenty of battery-powered and energy-harvesting devices are being deployed to fulfill sensing and actuation tasks in a variety of application areas, such as smart homes, precision agriculture, smart cities, and industrial automation. In this context, a critical issue is that of denial-of-sleep attacks. Such attacks temporarily or permanently deprive battery-powered, energy-harvesting, or otherwise energy-constrained devices of entering energy-saving sleep modes, thereby draining their charge. At the very least, a successful denial-of-sleep attack causes a long outage of the victim device. Moreover, to put battery-powered devices back into operation, their batteries have to be replaced. This is tedious and may even be infeasible, e.g., if a battery-powered device is deployed at an inaccessible location. While the research community came up with numerous defenses against denial-of-sleep at-tacks, most present-day IoT protocols include no denial-of-sleep defenses at all, presumably due to a lack of awareness and unsolved integration problems. After all, despite there are many denial-of-sleep defenses, effective defenses against certain kinds of denial-of-sleep attacks are yet to be found. The overarching contribution of this dissertation is to propose a denial-of-sleep-resilient medium access control (MAC) layer for IoT devices that commu-nicate over IEEE 802.15.4 links. Internally, our MAC layer comprises two main components. The first main component is a denial-of-sleep-resilient protocol for establishing session keys among neighboring IEEE 802.15.4 nodes. The established session keys serve the dual purpose of implementing (i) basic wireless security and (ii) complementary denial-of-sleep defenses that belong to the sec-ond main component. The second main component is a denial-of-sleep-resilient MAC protocol. Notably, this MAC protocol not only incorporates novel denial-of-sleep defenses, but also state-of-the-art mechanisms for achieving low energy consumption, high throughput, and high delivery ratios. Altogether, our MAC layer resists, or at least greatly mitigates, all denial-of-sleep attacks against it we are aware of. Furthermore, our MAC layer is self-contained and thus can act as a drop-in replacement for IEEE 802.15.4-compliant MAC layers. In fact, we implemented our MAC layer in the Contiki-NG operating system, where it seamlessly integrates into an existing protocol stack.