Security Challenges in MANETs and the Solution to Overcome Them

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Security Challenges in MANETs and the Solution to Overcome Them

Sana Fatima

M.Tech, CNE student T.John Institute Of Technology

Bangalore, India

Mrs Suma R.

Assistant Professor T.John Institute Of Technology

Bangalore, India

Abstract The distinctive features of mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), including dynamic topology and open wireless medium, may lead MANETs suffering from many security vulnerabilities. Using recent advances in uncertain reasoning originated from artificial intelligence community, a unified trust management scheme is proposed that enhances the security in MANETs. In the proposed trust management scheme, the trust model has two components: trust from direct observation and trust from indirect observation. With direct observation from an observer node, the trust value is derived using Bayesian inference, which is a type of uncertain reasoning when the full probability model can be defined. On the other hand, with indirect observation, also called second hand information that is obtained from neighbour nodes of the observer node, the trust value is derived using the Dempster-Shafer theory, which is another type of uncertain reasoning when the proposition of interest can be derived by an indirect method. Combining these two components in the trust model, more accurate trust values can be obtained of the observed nodes in MANETs. Throughput and packet delivery ratio can be improved significantly with slightly increased average end to- end delay and overhead of messages.

Keywords MANETs, Security, Trust Management, Un- certain Reasoning.


    With recent advances in wireless technologies and mobile devices, Mobile Ad hoc Networks (MANETs) [1], [2] have be- come popular as a key communication technology in military tactical environments such as establishment of communication networks used to coordinate military deployment among the soldiers, vehicles, and operational command centers [3]. There are many risks in military environments needed to be con- sidered seriously due to the distinctive features of MANETs, including open wireless transmission medium, nomadic and distributed nature, lack of centralized infrastructure of security protection [4][6]. Therefore, security in tactical MANETs is a challenging research topic [7]. There are two complementary classes of approaches that can safeguard tactical MANETs: prevention-based and detection- based approaches [8]. Prevention-based approaches are studied comprehensively in MANETs [9][12]. One issue of these prevention-based approaches is that a centralized key management infrastructure is needed, which may not be realistic in distributed networks such as MANETs. In addition, a centralized infrastructure will be the main target of rivals in battlefields research topic [7]. There are two complementary classes of approaches that can safeguard

    tactical MANETs: prevention-based and detection- based approaches [8]. Prevention-based approaches are studied comprehensively in MANETs [9][12]. One issue of these prevention-based approaches is that a centralized key management infrastructure is needed, which may not be realistic in distributed networks such as MANETs. In addition, a centralized infrastructure will be the main target of rivals in battlefields. If the infrastructure is destroyed, then the whole network may be paralyzed [13]. Furthermore, although prevention-based approaches can prevent misbehavior, there are still chances remained for malicious nodes to participate in the routing procedure and disturb proper routing estab- lishment. From the experience in the design of security in wired networks, multi-level security mechanisms are needed. In MANETs, this is especially true given the low physical security of mobile devices [14], [15]. Serving as the second wall of protection, detection-based approaches can effectively help identify malicious activities [16][18].

    Although some excellent work has been done on detection based based approaches based on trust in MANETs, most of existing approaches do not exploit direct and indirect observation (also called secondhand information that is obtained from third party nodes) at the same time to evaluate the trust of an observed node. Moreover, indirect observation in most approaches is only used to assess the reliability of nodes, which are not in the range of the observer node [19] [21]. Therefore, inaccurate trust values may be derived. In addition, most methods of trust evaluation from direct observation [19], [20], [22] do not differentiate data packets and control packets. However, in MANETs, control packets usually are more important than data packets.

    In this paper, we interpret trust as the degree of belief that a node performs as expected. We also recognize un- certainty in trust evaluation. Based on this interpretation, we propose a trust management scheme to e nhance the security of MANETs. The difference between our scheme and existing schemes is that we use uncertain reasoning to derive trust values. Uncertain reasoning was initially proposed from the artificial intelligence community to solve the problems in expert systems, which have frequent counter-factual results [23]. The elasticity and flexibility of uncertain reasoning make it successful in many fields, such as expert systems, multi- agent systems, and data fusion [23][26].


    Trust-based security schemes are important detection-based methods in MANETs, which have been studied recently [19], [20], [22], [24][26], [28][31]. In [19], [20], the trust value of

    a node based on direct observation is derived using Bayesian methodology. The authors of [22] regard trust as uncertainty that the observed node performs a task correctly, and entropy is used to formulate a trust model and evaluate trust values by direct observation. Compared to direct observation in trust evaluation, indirect observation or second-hand information can be important to assess the trust of observed nodes. For example, the collection of testimonies from neighbor nodes can detect the situation where a hostile node performs well to one observer, while performing poorly according to another node.

    The Dempster-Shafer theory (DST) is regarded as useful mechanism in uncertain reasoning and is widely used in expert systems and multi-agent systems [24], [25]. In [26], the Dempster-Shafer theory is used in sensor fusion. Intrusion detection systems [29], [30] apply the Dempster-Shafer theory to assess unreliable information from IDS sensors.

    In this paper, we use uncertain reasoning theory from artifi- cial intelligence to evaluate the trust of nodes in MANETs. Uncertainty is an old problem from gamblers world. This problem can be handled by probability theory. Reasoning is another important behavior in everyday life. A lot of researchers, even Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE) (Greek Philosopher), try to understand and formulate it. Reasoning based on uncertainty has been prosperous in the artificial intelligence community due to the development of probability theory and symbolic logic. Probabilistic reasoning is intro- duced to intelligence systems [23], which is used to tackle the exceptions in automatic reasoning. In order to overcome the drawbacks of traditional rule-based systems, which are

    based on truth tables with no exceptions, probabilistic rea- soning is proposed, in which the uncertainty of knowledge is considered and described as subsets of possible worlds. Probabilistic reasoning can be used to different areas, from artificial intelligence to philosophy, cognitive psychology, and management science. In the areaof security in MANETs, we find that this theory is very suitable for trust evaluation based on the trust interpretation in this paper. Bayesian inference and Dempster-Shafer evidence theory are two approaches in uncertain reasoning. We adopt them to evaluate trust of nodes by direct and indirect observation.

    Trust based security systems are also studied in different network architectures, e.g., wireless sensor networks [32], [33], vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs) [34], coopera- tive wireless networks [35], etc. Although different types of networks have different specific characteristics, the proposed trust model based on direct and indirect observation is general enough and can be customized to a particular network.


    In this section, we describe the definition and properties of trust in MANETs. Based on the definition, we depict the trust model that is used to formulate the trust between two nodes in

    MANETs, and present a framework of the proposed scheme. The main notations that are used in this paper are summarized in Table I.

    1. Definition and Properties of Trust

      Trust has different meanings in different disciplines from psychology to economy [28]. The definition of trust in MANETs is similar to the explanation in sociology, where trust is interpreted as degrees of the belief that a node in a network (or an agent in a distributed system) will carry out tasks that it should [28]. Due to the specific characteristics of MANETs, trust in MANETs has five basic properties: subjectivity, dynamicity, non-transitivity, asymmetry, and context-dependency [28]. Subjectivity means that an observer node has a right to determine the trust of an observed node. Different observer nodes may have different trust values of the same observed node. Dynamicity means that the trust of a node should be changed depending on its behaviors. Non- transitivity means that if node A trusts node B and node B trusts node C, then node A does not necessarily trust node C. Asymmetry means that if node A trusts node B, then node B does not necessarily trust node A. Context -dependency means that trust assessment commonly bases on the behaviors of a node. Different aspects of actions can be evaluated by different trust. For example, if a node has less power, then it may not be able to forward messages to its neighbors. In this situation, the trust of power in this node will decline, but the trust of security in this node will not be changed due to its state. Reputation is another important concept in trust evaluation. Reputation reflects the public opinions from members in a community [41]. In MANETs, reputation can be a collection of trust from nodes in the network. Reputation is more global than trust from the perspective of the whole network [41].

    2. Trust Model

      Based on the definition and properties of trust in MANETs, we evaluate trust in the proposed scheme by a real number,

      T , with a continuous value between 0 and 1. Although trust and trustworthiness may be different in contexts, in which the trustor needs to consider risk [28], trust and trustworthiness

      are treated the same for simplicity in the proposed scheme. In this model, trust is made up of two components: direct observation trust and indirect observation trust. These components are similar to those used in [42]. In direction observation trust, an observer estimates the trust of his one- hop neighbor based on its own opinion. Therefore, the trust value is the expectation of a subjective probability that a trustor uses to decide whether or not a trustee is reliable. It is similar to firsthand information defined by [19], [20]. We denote T S as a trust value from direct observation and can be calculated by Bayesian inference.

      If we only consider direct observation, there would be prejudice in trust value calculation. In order to obtain less biased trust value, we also consider other observers opinions in this paper. Although opinions of neighbors are introduced in [42], the method that simply takes arithmetic mean of all trust values is not sufficient to reflect the real meaning of other unreliable observers opinions because there are two situations that may severely disturb the effective evidence from neighbors: unreliable neighbors and unreliable observation [29]. Unreliable neighbors themselves are suspects. Even though neighbors are trustworthy, they may also provide unreliable evidence due to observation conditions. The Dempster-Shafer theory [25], [29] is a good candidate to aid in this situation, in which evidence is collected from neighbors that may be unreliable. Therefore, We denote the trust value derived from indirect observation of one-hop neighbors as T N. Combining the trust value, T S, from direct observation and the trust value, TN, from indirect observation, we can get a more realistic and accurate trust value of a node in MANETs.

      T = T S + (1 )TN, (1)

    3. Framework of the Proposed Scheme

      Based on the trust model, the framework of the proposed scheme is shown in Fig. 1. In the trust scheme component, the module of trust evaluation and update can obtain evidence from direct and indirect observation modules and then utilize two approaches, Bayesian inference and DST, to calculate and update the trust values. Next, the trust values are stored in the module of trust repository. Routing schemes in the networking

      component can establish secure routing paths between sources and destinations based on the trust repository module. The application component can send data through secure routing paths. The trust from direct observation between an observer node A and an observed node B in this trust scheme can be defined further as

      where (0 1)is the weight for data packets; T DAB is the trust value based on data packets; T C AB is the trust value based on control packets. Trust from indirect observation between an observer node A and an observed node B, denoted as T N AB, can be obtained by DST, which will be explained in Section V.

      In order to explain the basic procedure of trust evaluation in our scenario, an example network is shown in Fig. 2. In this example, node 1 is an observer node and node 3 is an observed node. Node 1 sends data messages to node 5 through node 3. When node 3 receives data messages and forwards to node 5, node 1 can overhear it. Then node 1 can calculate the trust value of node 3 based on data messages. The same idea is applied to the control message situation. In the meanwhile, node 1 can collect information from node 2 and node 4, which Have interactions with node 3 in order to evaluate the trust value of node 3. This information collected from third party nodes is called indirection observation. In another situation, node 7 sends data messages to node 3, which is the destination node. Node 1 cannot overhear the data messages sent to node 3 in this situation.


    Based on the model presented in the last section, we evaluate trust values with direct observation on two malicious behaviors: dropping packets and modifying packets [40]. In the direct observation, we assume that each observer can overhear packets forwarded by an observed node and compare them with original packets so that the observer can identify the malicious behaviors of the observed node. Therefore, the observer node can calculate trust values of its neighbors by using Bayesian inference, which is a general framework to deduce the estimation of the unknown probability by using observation. As mentioned in the last section of trust model, the degree of belief is a random variable, denoted by and 0

    1. From Bayes theorem, we can derive the following formulation

    where n = n1 + xn1, n = n1 + yn1 xn1, 0 = 0 = 1, n Z+. Intuitively, this situation is explained that the trust value of a node is 0.5 at the beginning. That means the node is seemed as neutral when no history records behaviors is established. The value trust can berevised continuously through follow-up observation. Past experience is also an important factor when trust values are calculated. Recent activities of a node can seriously affect the trust evaluation. Consider the case where a node has a good history of past experience, but it drops or modifies packets recently. In order to handle this, a windowing scheme is proposed. Using weighted evidence from observation is another method [19]. In our scheme, we introduce a punishment factor for reputation fading, which focuses on recent activities. The punishment factor is used to give more weights on misbehavior in the Bayesian framework. Firstly, this can lower the trust of an attacker when it misbehaves. Secondly, the trust of the attack will not recover quickly even if it forwards a large number of packets correctly due to the impact of the punishment factor. This can help the proposed scheme distinguish the malicious node quickly and avoid them disrupting the normal traffic between benign nodes again. The punishment factor is inspired by our daily lives in human society, where a scandal can badly affect a person who has a good reputation. Whats more, it is hard to quickly recover a good reputation. The factor of punishment makes the trust evaluation more realistic. The punishment factor, , in the formula of trust evaluation in (8) is described as follows:

    where 1. As the value of becomes larger, the trust value declines more. This is because the punishment factor gives more weight to misbehavior. Based on this deduction, T S is defined as:

    T S = En[]. (10)


In this section, indirect observation from neighbor nodes used to evaluate the trust value of the observed node will be discussed. Although direct observation from an observer is important in assessing the trust value of the observed node, the testimonies from neighbor nodes are also helpful to judge the trustworthiness of the observed node. Collection of neighbors opinions can help in justifying whether or not a node is hostile. This mechanism may reduce the bias from an observer. A situation in which a node is benign to one node but malicious to others may be mitigated. In order to implement this method, the Dempster-Shafer theory, which is a mathematical theory of evidence, is used as it is well developed for coping with uncertainty or ignorance, and it provides a numerical measurement of degrees of belief about a proposition from multiple sources [26], [30]. The core of this theory is the belief function that is based on two essential ideas: degrees of belief about a proposition can be obtained from subjective probabilities of a related question, and these degrees of belief can be combined together on condition that they are from independence evidence [24], [29]. In the indirect observation, we assume that there are more than one neighbor nodes between an observer and an observed node when the ttrust evaluation is performed with DST. We also assume that evidence provided by different neighbors is independent. First, we will introduce the theory of belief functions. Then we will discuss the rule of combining belief functions that are used to accommodate testimonies from one-hop neighbor nodes in order to assess trust values of nodes in MANETs.


In this paper, we proposed a unified trust management scheme that enhances the security of MANETs. Using recent advances in uncertain reasoning, Bayesian inference and Dempster- Shafer theory, we evaluate the trust values of observed nodes in MANETs. Misbehaviors such as dropping or modifying packets can be detected in our scheme through are listed as the viewpoint of the system designers. trust values by direct and indirect observation. Nodes with low trust values will be excluded by the routing algorithm. Therefore, secure routing

path can be established in malicious environments. Based on the proposed scheme, more accurate trust can be obtained by considering different types of packets, indirect observation from one-hop neighbors and other important factors such as buffers of queues and states of wireless connections, which may cause dropping packets in friendly nodes. The results of MANET routing scenario positively support the effectiveness and performance of our scheme, which improves throughput and packet delivery ratio considerably, with slightly increased average end-to-end delay and overhead of messages. In our future work, we will extend the proposed scheme to MANETs with cognitive radios [46].


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