Applying fuzzy logic to re-authentication in mobile ad hoc networks


  1. Dondo, M.
  2. Kellett, M.
  3. Mason, P.C.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
In mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), there is no central authority that can be used to control and manage individual nodes. As a result, authenticating nodes entering the network is a challenging task. In practical situations, such as military networks, nodes in a MANET may leave and rejoin the network as part of the network’s normal operations. From a security standpoint, when a node attempts to rejoin the MANET, it is important to determine if it can be trusted; it is possible that the node, when it was not connected, was compromised in some way. The natural response is to re-authenticate every time a node rejoins the network; however, without distinguishing between a node that has left and come back and one that has simply lost contact temporarily due to radio conditions, this approach risks overwhelming the network with re-authentication traffic. Distinguishing between these two situations is not straight-forward. Existing research has looked into minimizing the amount of overhead while maintaining the security of the network. In this work, we propose a fuzzy, trust-based approach to determine if a node attempting to rejoin the network should be re-authenticated. By using fuzzy logic, we can intuitively combine a number of variables, such as time away and previous trust values, to make a decision rather than simply setting a hard, and possibly arbitrary, threshold. We apply our approach to a number of attack scenarios to show its effectiveness.

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Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-TM-2011-223 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Dec 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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