In modern sensor networks, key management is essential to transmit data from sensors to the sink securely. That is, sensors are likely to be compromised by attackers, and a key management scheme should renew the keys for communication as frequently as possible. In clustered sensor networks, CHs (Cluster Heads) tend to become targets of compromise attack because they collect data from sensors and deliver the aggregated data to the sink. However, existing key renewal schemes do not change the CH role nodes, and thus they are vulnerable to the compromise of CHs. Our scheme is called DIRECT (DynamIc key REnewal using Cluster head elecTion) because it materializes the dynamic key renewals through secure CH elections. In the scheme, the network is divided into sectors to separate CH elections in each sector from other sectors. Then, sensors establish pairwise keys with other sensors in their sector for intra-sector communication. Every CH election round, all sensors securely elect a CH in their sector by defeating the malicious actions of attackers. Therefore, the probability that a compromised node is elected as a CH decreases significantly. The simulation results show that our approach significantly improves the integrity of data, energy efficiency, and network longevity.
2010 The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers