Towards clock skew based services in wireless sensor networks
by Md. Borhan Uddin, Claude Castelluccia
International Journal of Sensor Networks (IJSNET), Vol. 9, No. 1, 2011

Abstract: Clock skew, an inherent property of clock crystals of physical devices, is defined as the rate of deviation of a device clock from the true time. The frequency of a device's clock actually depends on its environment, such as the temperature, humidity, vibration, electromagnetic interference, as well as the type of crystal. The main contributions of this paper are twofold. First, we experimentally validate that MICAz and TelosB sensor motes have different and unique clock skews. Furthermore, the clock skew of a node can easily be monitored, even via a multi-hop Wireless Sensor Network (WSN). We argue that this feature can be used for identification of the nodes, detection of wormhole and Sybil attacks. Second, we show that the clock skew of a sensor node varies with the variation of temperature. We explain how this property can be used to detect malicious and malfunctioning nodes and to geolocalise them. We also discuss the pros and cons of utilisation of the above two properties for different services in WSNs.

Online publication date: Thu, 02-Dec-2010

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