According to most technology pundits, progress in wireless and sensor networks will lead us into a world of ubiquitous computing, in which myriads of tiny, untethered sensors and actuators will communicate with each other. Information technology will thus deliver its most encompassing and pervasive accomplishment to mankind, promptly taking care of the needs and wishes of everyone.
Or maybe not. The described evolution is driven primarily by market forces and vastly ignores the users' intentions. Yet the recent history of the Internet has shown that these intentions can have devastating effects; for example, spam, viruses, "phishing" and denial of service attacks have unfortunately become commonplace. The misbehavior of a relatively small number of users is leading to a substantial inconvenience to the whole community. Similar or even worse misdeeds are and will be perpetrated in wireless networks.
Anyone would agree that forecasting the attacks against a network before its deployment is a very difficult task, and that the countermeasures are not purely technical, as the human dimension needs to be taken into account. Yet the current practice consisting in patching the problem a posteriori, once it has been detected, is of course not acceptable; after all, we should be able by now to draw the lessons from many years of Internet security experience.
An additional problem is that the speed to the market is in contradiction with the design of a well-thought (and possibly standardized) secure architecture; the solution to this recurrent problem probably resides in the evolution of the designers' attitude, and therefore requires appropriate education on this issue.
To summarize, our purpose is to avoid that ubiquitous computing becomes a pervasive nightmare.
This textbook addresses the fundamental questions related to this problem, in particular:
- How are users and devices identified?
- How can a security association be established between two wireless peers?
- How can packets be securely and cooperatively routed in a multi-hop network?
- How can the fair share of bandwidth between nodes located in the same radio domain be guaranteed?
- How are wireless operators likely to behave, if they have to share a given part of the spectrum?
- How can naturally selfish players be encouraged to behave cooperatively?
- And, above all, how is privacy protected?
The book treats each of these questions from a theoretical point of view and illustrates them by means of concrete examples such as mesh, ad hoc, vehicular, sensor, and RFID networks.
In order to be properly understood, this book requires some familiarity with networking, but a special effort has been made to keep the material as simple as possible. An introduction to the necessary concepts of security and game theory is provided.