Survey and Benchmark of Block Ciphers for Wireless Sensor Networks

Yee Wei Law, Jeroen M. Doumen, Pieter H. Hartel

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    Cryptographic algorithms play an important role in the security architecture of wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Choosing the most storage- and energy-efficient block cipher is essential, due to the facts that these networks are meant to operate without human intervention for a long period of time with little energy supply, and that available storage is scarce on these sensor nodes. However, to our knowledge, no systematic work has been done in this area so far.We construct an evaluation framework in which we first identify the candidates of block ciphers suitable for WSNs, based on existing literature and authoritative recommendations. For evaluating and assessing these candidates, we not only consider the security properties but also the storage- and energy-efficiency of the candidates. Finally, based on the evaluation results, we select the most suitable ciphers for WSNs, namely Skipjack, MISTY1, and Rijndael, depending on the combination of available memory and required security (energy efficiency being implicit). In terms of operation mode, we recommend Output Feedback Mode for pairwise links but Cipher Block Chaining for group communications.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-93
    Number of pages29
    JournalACM transactions on sensor networks
    Issue number1/1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


    • EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP5/34734
    • SCS-Cybersecurity

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