A Survey on Security
Attacks in Wireless Sensor
Published in: Computing for Sustainable Global Development
(INDIACom), 2016 3rd International Conference on
Date of Conference: 16-18 March 2016
Date Added to IEEE Xplore: 31 October 2016
Muhammad Farooq Hussain
The greatest innovation in the field of
telecommunication is Wireless Sensor Networks
(WSN's). In today's world WSN's become the research
area due to huge number of application taking the
advantage from it. Application of WSN includes, habitat
monitoring, security surveillance and home entry
system. This presentation will give some idea about the
fundamentals, challenges and security goals in WSN's
and also the different types of attacks in WSN due to
which data is lost or insecure from third parties and
also consumes energy of nodes. Finally concluded that
it helps to readers to have better view on Wireless
• In past few years,WSN have become increasingly one
of the most interesting research area overhead.
• A typical WSN consists of a large number of small
sized inexpensive nodes that integrates computing,
sensing and wireless communication proficiency .
• In WSN security and privacy are the enormous
Elements of WSN
Node: Autonomous sensor-equipped device .
Data gatherer: Data capturer (also connected to
external system) & a gateway to external
External system: Data storing and managing
centers, works on those values which is
provided by both the node and data gatherer
Field devices: Field device is also known as Sensor motes
and the devices are mounted in the process and must be
capable of routing packets on behalf of other devices
Gateway: A Gateway enables communication between
Host application and field devices. Therefore it is called
as Access points.
Network manager: A Network Manager is responsible for
configuration of the network, scheduling communication
between devices (i.e., configuring ), management of the
routing tables and monitoring and reporting the health
of the network.
Security manager: The Security Manager is responsible for
the generation, storage, and management of keys.
• Obstacles to WSN security.
• Requirements of a Secure WSN.
• Defensive Measures.
Network Security Fundamentals
• Confidentiality: means that security mechanism
must ensure that only intended receiver can
correctly intercept a message and unauthorized
access and usage can’t be done
• Integrity : an unauthorized individual is not to be
able to destroy the information, when a message is
transfer from the sender to the receiver
• Availability : an interruption shouldn’t occur, when a
system and application are performing their tasks
Challenges of security in WSNs
• Remote Location: most of the WSN’s are operated in
remoted area locations are very far away from our
reach, b/c of this, they are left unattended.
• Lack of central control: There is always a central
point of control in sensor networks because of their
scale and network dynamics.
• Error Prone communications: there are variety of
reasons, that includes errors are situated in channel,
failure of router and collisions, packets in WSN may
be lost or corrupted.
• Resource constraint : traditional security mechanism
that have very high overheads, for this resource
constrained WSN’s are not suitable
Security Attacks in WSN’s
• Two categories :
Active attacks & passive attacks
• In passive attacks the realization of this attack is easy
and difficult to detect . Traffic analysis, traffic
monitoring are the various examples of passive attack
• In active attacks an attacker tries to romve or modify
the message which are transmitted on the network.
Jaming, DOS, message replay are the examples
• Vulnerable to a multitude of attacks such as
DoS, traffic analysis, privacy violation, physical
attacks and so on.
• DoS: Jamming a node or set of nodes by
transmission of a radio signal that interferes
with radio frequencies being used.
• Violate the communication protocol thus
depleting valuable battery life.
• Sybil attack:
– Sybil attack is a huge destructive attack in sensor
network, in this attack, a sensor nodes behaves as
if it were a large number of nodes, by faking other
– Originally used against peer to peer networks but
may also be used to disrupt routing algorithms,
data aggregation etc.
• Traffic Analysis Attacks: Take over the base
station/nodes closest to base station.
• Wormhole attack:
– In wormhole attack attackers records a packet at one
location in the network and send them to another
location and replays it there.
• DOS attack:
In DOS attack, an attacker tries to make service
or system inaccessible .
• Jamming :
A well known attack, it disturb the radio
channel by sending useless information on the
frequency band use. Jamming can be temporary
• Key Establishment.
• Secure Broadcasting and Multicasting.
• More efficient routing protocols.
• Intrusion Detection.
Conclusion and Future Work
Networks are shifted from wired to wireless quickly, WSNs
is growing day by day and hot field in the area of research.
WSNs are cost effective because it saves the Energy by
using low power tiny sensor nodes that makes it popular,
with the addition of different other features.WSNs have a
variety of features and types that can accommodate many
problems arising in different scenarios. The only need is the
selection of the right approach on the right place, for
getting the maximum benefit from the WSN and its types.
I have a plan to find out an algorithm or mechanism that
improves the performance and security issues, of the WSN.
My presentation enhances the base for this emerging field
and after it, i will pick a particular problem in WSN and
work for an efficient approach