Senses Lab

SEnsors NetworkS and Embedded Systems Laboratory

Center for Cyber Intelligence and Information Security

AGREE: exploiting energy harvesting to support data-centric access control in WSNs

Research Area: Design, evaluation and test of complete solutions for Green Wireless Sensor Networks Year: 2013
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: Energy harvesting, Environmentally-powered sensor nodes, Data access control, attribute-based encryption
Authors: G. Bianchi; Angelo Capossele; Chiara Petrioli; Dora Spenza
Journal: Elsevier Ad Hoc Networks Volume: 11
Number: 8 Pages: 2625 - 2636
ISSN: 1570-8705
Special Issue on Security, Privacy and Trust Management in the Internet of Things era (SePriT).
This work is motivated by a general question: can energy harvesting capabilities embedded in modern sensor nodes be exploited so as to support security mechanisms which otherwise would be too demanding and hardly viable? More specifically, in this work we focus on the support of extremely powerful, but complex, fine-grained data-centric access control mechanisms based on multi-authority Ciphertext Policy Attribute Based Encryption (CP-ABE). By integrating access control policies into the (encrypted) data, such mechanisms do not require any server-based access control infrastructure and are thus highly desirable in many wireless sensor network scenarios. However, as concretely shown by a proof-of-concept implementation first carried out in this paper on TelosB and MicaZ motes, computational complexity and energy toll of state-of-the-art multi-authority CP-ABE schemes is still critical. We thus show how to mitigate the relatively large energy consumption of the CP-ABE cryptographic operations by proposing AGREE (Access control for GREEn wireless sensor networks), a framework which exploits energy harvesting opportunities to pre-compute and cache suitably chosen CP-ABE-encrypted keys, so as to minimize the need to perform CP-ABE encryptions when no energy from harvesting is available. We assess the performance of AGREE by means of simulation and actual implementation, and by validating its operation with real-world energy-harvesting traces collected indoors by Telos B motes equipped with photovoltaic cells, as well as public available traces of radiant light energy. Our results show that complex security mechanisms may become significantly less demanding when implemented so as to take advantage of energy harvesting opportunities.
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