Secret Common Randomness From Routing Metadata in Ad Hoc Networks

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Establishing secret common randomness between two or multiple devices in a network resides at the root of communication security. In its most frequent form of key establishment, the problem is traditionally decomposed into a randomness generation stage (randomness purity is subject to employing often costly true random number generators) and an information-exchange agreement stage, which relies either on public-key infrastructure or on symmetric encryption (key wrapping). In this paper, we propose a secret-common-randomness establishment algorithm for ad hoc networks, which works by harvesting randomness directly from the network routing metadata, thus achieving both pure randomness generation and (implicitly) secret-key agreement. Our algorithm relies on the route discovery phase of an ad hoc network employing the dynamic source routing protocol, is lightweight, and requires relatively little communication overhead. The algorithm is evaluated for various network parameters in an OPNET ad hoc network simulator. Our results show that, in just 10 min, thousands of secret random bits can be generated network-wide, between different pairs in a network of 50 users.

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IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security

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