Intrusion Detection System for detecting internal threats in 6LoWPAN

PhD thesis

Le, A. 2017. Intrusion Detection System for detecting internal threats in 6LoWPAN. PhD thesis Middlesex University Computer Science
TypePhD thesis
TitleIntrusion Detection System for detecting internal threats in 6LoWPAN
AuthorsLe, A.

6LoWPAN (IPv6 over Low-power Wireless Personal Area Network) is a standard developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force group to enable the Wireless Sensor Networks to connect to the IPv6 Internet. This standard is rapidly gaining popularity for its applicability, ranging extensively from health care to environmental monitoring. Security is one of the most crucial issues that need to be considered properly in 6LoWPAN. Common 6LoWPAN security threats can come from external or internal attackers. Cryptographic techniques are helpful in protecting the external attackers from illegally joining the network. However, because the network devices are commonly not tampered-proof, the attackers can break the cryptography codes of such devices and use them to operate like an internal source. These malicious sources can create internal attacks, which may downgrade significantly network performance. Protecting the network from these internal threats has therefore become one of the centre security problems on 6LoWPAN.
This thesis investigates the security issues created by the internal threats in 6LoWPAN and proposes the use of Intrusion Detection System (IDS) to deal with such threats. Our main works are to categorise the 6LoWPAN threats into two major types, and to develop two different IDSs to detect each of this type effectively. The major contributions of this thesis are summarised as below.
First, we categorise the 6LoWPAN internal threats into two main types, one that focuses on compromising directly the network performance (performance-type) and the other is to manipulate the optimal topology (topology-type), to later downgrade the network service quality indirectly. In each type, we select some typical threats to implement, and assess their particular impacts on network performance as well as identify performance metrics that are sensitive in the attacked situations, in order to form the basis detection knowledge. In addition, on studying the topology-type, we propose several novel attacks towards the Routing Protocol for Low Power and Lossy network (RPL - the underlying routing protocol in 6LoWPAN), including the Rank attack, Local Repair attack and DIS attack.
Second, we develop a Bayesian-based IDS to detect the performance-type internal threats by monitoring typical attacking targets such as traffic, channel or neighbour nodes. Unlike other statistical approaches, which have a limited view by just using a single metric to monitor a specific attack, our Bayesian-based IDS can judge an abnormal behaviour with a wiser view by considering of different metrics using the insightful understanding of their relations. Such wiser view helps to increase the IDS’s accuracy significantly.
Third, we develop a Specification-based IDS module to detect the topology-type internal threats based on profiling the RPL operation. In detail, we generalise the observed states and transitions of RPL control messages to construct a high-level abstract of node operations through analysing the trace files of the simulations. Our profiling technique can form all of the protocol’s legal states and transitions automatically with corresponding statistic data, which is faster and easier to verify compare with other manual specification techniques. This IDS module can detect the topology-type threats quickly with a low rate of false detection.
We also propose a monitoring architecture that uses techniques from modern technologies such as LTE (Long-term Evolution), cloud computing, and multiple interface sensor devices, to expand significantly the capability of the IDS in 6LoWPAN. This architecture can enable the running of both two proposed IDSs without much overhead created, to help the system to deal with most of the typical 6LoWPAN internal threats.
Overall, the simulation results in Contiki Cooja prove that our two IDS modules are effective in detecting the 6LoWPAN internal threats, with the detection accuracy is ranging between 86 to 100% depends on the types of attacks, while the False Positive is also satisfactory, with under 5% for most of the attacks. We also show that the additional energy consumptions and the overhead of the solutions are at an acceptable level to be used in the 6LoWPAN environment.

Department nameComputer Science
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print09 Jun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Jun 2017
Accepted18 Mar 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Permalink -

Download files

Accepted author manuscript
  • 19
    total views
  • 15
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as