On the detection of clones in sensor networks using random key predistribution

Richard Brooks, P. Y. Govindaraju, Matthew Pirretti, N. Vijaykrishnan, Mahmut T. Kandemir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Random key predistribution security schemes are well suited for use in sensor networks due to their low overhead. However, the security of a network using predistributed keys can be compromised by cloning attacks. In this attack, an adversary breaks into a sensor node, reprograms it, and inserts several copies of the node back into the sensor network. Cloning gives the adversary an easy way to build an army of malicious nodes that can cripple the sensor network. In this paper, we propose an algorithm that a sensor network can use to detect the presence of clones. Keys that are present on the cloned nodes are detected by looking at how often they are used to authenticate nodes in the network. Simulations verify that the proposed method accurately detects the presence of clones in the system and supports their removal. We quantify the extent of false positives and false negatives in the clone detection process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1246-1258
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics Part C: Applications and Reviews
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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