Using Directional Antennas to Prevent Wormhole Attacks

Lingxuan Hu and David Evans
Network and Distributed System Security Symposium
San Diego, 5-6 February 2004

Wormhole attacks enable an attacker with limited resources and no cryptographic material to wreak havoc on wireless networks. To date, no general defenses against wormhole attacks have been proposed. This paper presents an analysis of wormhole attacks and proposes a countermeasure using directional antennas. We present a cooperative protocol whereby nodes share directional information to prevent wormhole endpoints from masquerading as false neighbors. Our defense greatly diminishes the threat of wormhole attacks and requires no location information or clock synchronization.

Complete Paper (11 pages) [PDF]
Talk [PPT, 24 slides]

This work is described in Security and Cooperation in Wireless Networks: Thwarting Malicious and Selfish Behavior in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Levente Buttyán and Jean-Pierre Hubaux, Cambridge University Press 2007 (Section 6.1).

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University of Virginia
Department of Computer Science
David Evans