Secure wireless standard protects IoT applications
The solution demonstrated by the HPI is based on an extension to the wireless standard IEEE802.15.4. HPI director Chistoph Meinel believes that this standard will prevail in IoT applications, mainly due to its relatively large range up to 200 metres (some 660 ft) and its low energy consumption. The standard is designed in the first place for use in meshed network structures where the nodes frequently relay data packets for their peers. Through this feature, it is possible to establish larger and more robust wireless networks than with the popular WiFi technology.
“With our solution we prevent, for example, that attackers can selectively contact sensors or actuators with the intention to quickly discharge their batteries or to bring clock generators out of their rhythm”, explains Meinel. The security protocol developed by Potsdam (Germany) based HPI also prevents injecting potentially harmful messages into the network.
The protocol, called Adaptive Key Establishment Scheme (AKES) prevents possible attacks by several measures. Leveraging several features of the IEEE802.15.4 standard, AKES controls which devices and nodes can join the wireless network; in addition it provides authentication and encryption. The solution is very energy efficient and automatically adapts to structural changes in the network architecture.
Introduced to the public at a computer security conference in Los Angeles in December 2015, AKES is now demonstrated at the Cebit IT fair that opened its gates to the public this Monday (hall 6, stand D18). A fully functional AKES implementation running under the IoT-optimised operating system Contiki is available as open source code.