A Trusted Wireless Sensor Node Platform - Embedded.com

A Trusted Wireless Sensor Node Platform

Security problems related to Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) has directly influenced the credibility of WSN applications and its services. With the advancement and demand in the WSN applications such as in military, structural health monitoring, transportation, agriculture, smart home and many more, the system stands to be exposed to too many potential threats.

Currently, WSN systems has mainly relied on software based security for protection against breach of systems and data integrity. As WSN systems become more ubiquitous, software based security is regarded as no more sufficient for WSN applications.

This paper discusses security issues in WSN area and reviews work done on hardware base security. Based on the preliminary works that have been carried out, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) initiatives by Trusted Computing Groups (TCG) together with Trusted Zone technologies by ARM are seen as possible approaches toward better security implementation in WSN. It describes a new embedded security implementation utilizing 32-bit ARM11 processor with Trustzone features to enhance the integrity of the sensor node platform.

This work was prompted due to lack of highly secured sensor node platform to accommodate future wireless sensor networks applications. While almost all available sensor node platforms utilize software based security, this work proposed the use of trustzone feature in the ARM11 processor to enhance the security level by limiting the security parameter to a single chip.

All important keys and data will be saved in the On-SoC memory thus preventing the platform from shack and lab attack. Basically the sensor node platform will consist of ARM11 chip, external memory Flash and SDRAM, Zigbee as transmitter, temperature sensor and battery operated power supply.

Two dominant features that differentiate this work from others are the location of sensitive resources such as the crypto keys and the denial of extra or dedicated processor core for security purposes. This implementation ensures no sensitive resources leaves the chip and therefore block most types of attacks.

Besides that it also saves the silicon area and power consumption and also allows high performance security software to run alongside with the normal world operating environment. It is hoped that the outcome from this work can contribute towards higher security level in the area of WSN. Finally the choice of ARM11 as the main processor for the sensor node is in line with the constraint faced in sensor node development as it is rated as the most efficient processor in MIPS/Watt.

To read more of this external content, download the complete paper from the author online archives at the International Association of Engineers .

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