Lightweight Security Solutions for the Internet of Things

University dissertation from Västerås : Mälardalne University

Abstract: The future Internet will be an IPv6 network interconnecting traditional computers and a large number of smart object or networks such as Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). This Internet of Things (IoT) will be the foundation of many services and our daily life will depend on its availability and reliable operations.Therefore, among many other issues, the challenge of implementing secure communication in the IoT must be addressed. The traditional Internet has established and tested ways of securing networks. The IoT is a hybrid network of the Internet and resource-constrained networks, and it is therefore reasonable to explore the options of using security mechanisms standardized for the Internet in the IoT.The IoT requires multi-facet security solutions where the communication is secured with confidentiality, integrity, and authentication services; the network is protected against intrusions and disruptions; and the data inside a sensor node is stored in an encrypted form. Using standardized mechanisms, communication in the IoT can be secured at different layers: at the link layer with IEEE 802.15.4 security, at the network layer with IP security (IPsec), and at the transport layer with Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS). Even when the IoT is secured with encryption and authentication, sensor nodes are exposed to wireless attacks both from inside the WSN and from the Internet. Hence an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) and firewalls are needed. Since the nodes inside WSNs can be captured and cloned, protection of stored data is also important.This thesis has three main contributions. (i) It enables secure communication in the IoT using lightweight compressed yet standard compliant IPsec, DTLS, and IEEE 802.15.4 link layer security; and it discusses the pros and cons of each of these solutions. The proposed security solutions are implemented and evaluated in an IoT setup on real hardware. (ii) This thesis also presents the design, implementation, and evaluation of a novel IDS for the IoT. (iii) Last but not least, it also provides mechanisms to protect data inside constrained nodes.The experimental evaluation of the different solutions shows that the resource-constrained devices in the IoT can be secured with IPsec, DTLS, and 802.15.4 security; can be efficiently protected against intrusions; and the proposed combined secure storage and communication mechanisms can significantly reduce the security-related operations and energy consumption.

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