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Mobile Ad-Hoc Network (MANET) and Sensor Network Security

In 2006, our research team released an updated open source implementation of mLab, a Mobile Ad Hoc Network (MANET) test bed. This test bed allows researchers the opportunity to validate ad hoc networking theories and simulations in practice, to test simulation assumptions, and to discover practical problems facing ad hoc network users and developers alike. The mLab tool allows users to create arbitrary network topologies and traffic scenarios in order to perform real-time performance measurements of routing protocols. By changing the logical topology of the network, mLab users can conduct tests in an ad hoc network without having to physically move the nodes in the ad hoc network. The tool allows users to replay different mobility scenarios, captures wireless traffic for further analysis, and helps perform specification-based intrusion detection. The research team has published and presented the results at six international conferences.

A number of Intrusion Detection System (IDS) techniques for MANETs have been proposed in the research literature. These techniques include trust building and cluster-based voting schemes, host-based watchdogs, and finite state machines for specifying correct routing behavior. Comparing and evaluating the effectiveness of these IDS techniques has been hindered by the limited number of large-scale MANET deployments, the lack of publicly available network traces of actual MANET traffic, and the difficulty in defining typical application and mobility scenarios. Network simulation tools have allowed researchers to study MANET IDSs without purchasing mobile nodes or conducting costly and time-consuming field trial tests. These simulations, however, have been conducted using widely varying assumptions on background network traffic, mobility, previous security associations, and the type of malicious network activity. In 2007, our research team will be using the mLab test bed to create publicly available MANET network traces. These network traces will allow a broader range of researchers to compare the effectiveness of different MANET IDS techniques on the same data set, and conduct cost-effective and time-saving offline experiments with new IDS techniques without requiring expensive hardware.