Recently many people in the media, industry, and academia are talking about ubiquitous computing and ad hoc networking, but it seems that everybody has a different understanding of the topic. Some people associate ad hoc networks with Personal Area Networks (PANs), as for instance wireless communications among PDA's, cellular phones, and laptops using the Bluetooth protocol, whereas others might imagine military applications, such as exploring enemy territory by the use of sensor networks. The number of applications are countless.
So what are ad hoc networks? What is their infrastructure? What are their properties? What are the applications of such networks and do those applications require the implementation of any security? All these questions have not been sufficiently answered yet. Clear definitions of architecture, properties, and security requirements can still not be found in the literature. Although some applications are already implemented, the desired security properties have still not been completely achieved.
With the increasing number of applications that involve wireless communication among mobile devices, the demand for implementing security in such systems becomes inevitable. Networks that consists of mobile devices that spontaneously form a wireless network are usually referred to as ad hoc networks.
We believe that there are four main security problems that need to be dealt with in ad hoc networks:
- the authentication of devices that wish to talk to each other
- the secure establishment of a session key among the authenticated devices
- the secure routing in multi-hop networks
- the secure storage of key data in the devices
The primary focus of our research is on authentication and key establishment protocols that are applicable in ad hoc networks. The constrained devices, the lack of infrastructure, and other special properties of ad hoc networks make achieving those security properties a challenging task.