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Technical Report #319, ISBN 82-7368-272-2 Department of Informatics, University of Oslo February 2005

SKiMPy: A Simple Key Management Protocol for MANETs in Emergency and Rescue Operations
Matija Pužar1, Jon Andersson2, Thomas Plagemann1, Yves Roudier3

Department of Informatics, University of Oslo {matija, plageman} 2 Thales Communications
Institut Eurécom

Mobile ad-hoc networks (MANETs) provide the technical platform for efficient information sharing in emergency and rescue operations. Some the data present on the scene is highly confidential and requires protection. However, one of the main threats to a network is insertion of false data or alteration of existing ones, which could easilylead to network disruption and, ultimately, cause loss of human lives. This paper presents a simple and efficient key management protocol, called SKiMPy. The protocol allows devices carried by the rescue personnel to establish a symmetric shared key, to be used primarily to perform message signatures. The protocol is designed and optimized having in mind the high dynamicity present in such ascenario. Two different implementations were made, first as a standalone application and later as a plugin for the Optimized Link State Routing Protocol (OLSR). We present the evaluation results for both implementations and, in addition, for the latter one we describe in detail the emulation platform developed to test and evaluate this and other MANET protocols.

Efficientcollaboration between rescue personnel from various organizations is a mission critical key element for a successful operation in emergency and rescue situations. There are two cen-

tral requirements for efficient collaboration, the incentive to collaborate, which is naturally given for rescue personnel, and the ability to efficiently communicate and share information. Mobile adhoc networks (MANETs)could provide the technical platform for efficient information sharing in such scenarios, assuming that all rescue personnel is carrying and using mobile computing devices with wireless network interfaces. Wireless communication is by nature more susceptible to eavesdropping, compared to the other media. In most cases, the data involved should not be available to third parties, such as maliciouspersons, like arsonists, or curious journalists who might make confidential data public. Another requirement is to prevent third parties from inducing false data. At the application layer this might for example lead to wrong management decisions. At the network layer it has been shown that a very few percent of misbehaving nodes could easily lead to network disruption and partitioning [12]. In bothcases, efficiency of the rescue operation will be drastically reduced and might ultimately cause loss of human lives. In order to prevent such a disaster, all data traffic should be properly signed, allowing only authorized nodes the possibility to perform authentication and integrity checking. Given that the devices carried by the rescue personnel will mostly have scarce resources, asymmetriccryptography is too costly to be used the whole time.

This paper describes a simple key management protocol, called SKiMPy, used to establish a symmetric shared key between the rescue personnel’s devices. This approach provides the means to establish a secure network infrastructure between authorized nodes, while keeping out unauthorized ones. In addition, at the application layer it may be decidedwhether the established shared key will be used to encrypt data as well. SKiMPy is designed and optimized for highly dynamic ad-hoc networks and it is completely autonomous, requiring no user interaction at all. This is also an important factor, having in mind that rescue personnel does not have time to think or care about details of lower layers of the network infrastructure. To facilitate the...