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Approaches to Secure MANET Using Trust-Aware Routing

Approaches to Secure MANET Using Trust-Aware Routing

Supervisor(s): Maximilian Tschirschnitz
Status: finished
Topic: Others
Author: Vladimir Romanenko
Submission: 2023-05-15
Type of Thesis: Masterthesis


Mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) enable communication without wireless infrastructure. However, the security of MANETs

remains a concern due to the open network boundaries, the vulnerability of the wireless link, and the lack of a certificate

authority or authentication service. Existing work has proposed to address authentication through trust-based key establishment.

However, these proposals lack transparency regarding the origin of the keys. They are also susceptible to establishing malicious

keys if a multi-node attacker manipulates the trust ratings.


This work proposes a novel scheme for key establishment in MANET. Instead of trust values, we compare complete signature chains

and narrow down possible sources of manipulation. In doing so, we can pursue two distinct goals; find the maximum number of

inconsistencies or minimize the number of comparisons to establish correct keys. We also introduce the concept of a team, a group

of manipulation origins, to help detect colluding nodes.


In the first part of the work, we consider a coordinated attacker capable of multi-node control and prove that by comparing every signature

chain, we can reliably detect manipulated keys and find origins. We use our proof-of-concept tool to simulate every possible attacker strategy

on a small exemplary graph and show that the approach is reliable in finding malicious keys. In part two, we focus on reducing the number of

comparisons. We propose two topology-based reductions that ensure consistent keys. These reductions show promising results, allowing us to

lower the number of comparisons by around 40% for all attacker strategies on our example graph. We also include a game theoretical specification

and present a possible Bayesian Game with its weaknesses for future reduction attempts.


To provide a link to possible real-world applications, we present an imaginary MANET protester network and discuss how our framework helps secure

communication in contrast to existing solutions.