A self-managing volatile key scheme for wireless sensor networks

  • Abdelkader Laouid
  • Abdelnasser Dahmani
  • Hani Ragab Hassen
  • Ahcène Bounceur
  • Reinhardt Euler
  • Farid Lalem
  • Abdelkamel Tari
Original Research


The last decade has seen major advances in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). The limited amount of resources in WSNs is the main challenge for securing them. Indeed, sensors are inherently small devices with limited embedded storage, processor and battery capacity. The situation is even worse when attackers, with virtually unlimited amount of resources, have direct physical access to sensors. Cryptographic keys are used for authentication, authorization, confidentiality, data integrity, as well as many other security services. Several proposals have been made for key management in WSNs. In this paper, we review some notable key management schemes and propose a new one. The originality of our work lies in two main facts: first, we do not place a master key on all sensors before deploying them as several other proposals did, but we rather place the master key in a subset of sensors; second, the master keys are volatile, i.e., sensors use the master key to bootstrap the system and they delete them shortly after that. Our extensive simulations have shown the efficiency of our approach.


Key management Wireless sensor networks Secure connectivity coverage Network scalability Distributed algorithms 



We thank the anonymous referees for their constructive comments and suggestions, which helped to improve the quality of this paper. The first author acknowledges the support of the PNE program established by the government of Algeria.Thanks to CupCarbon, new proposals can be evaluated and compared with existing solutions in an accurate robust environment. CupCarbon (CupCarbonCupCarbon, A Smart City and IoT WSN Simulator is an open source Java project and freely available for download.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science, LIMED LaboratoryUniversity of BejaiaBejaiaAlgeria
  2. 2.Lab-STICC UMR CNRS 6285Université de Bretagne OccidentaleBrestFrance
  3. 3.School of Mathematical and Computer SciencesHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK
  4. 4.University Center of TamanrassetTamanrassetAlgeria
  5. 5.University of Echahid Hamma LakhdarEl-OuedAlgeria

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