Technical Report MSC-2018-10

Title: A Network Layer Attack for the Price of a Physical Layer Attack in a Wireless Mesh Network with Application to RPL
Authors: Ali Tabaja
Supervisors: Reuven Cohen
PDFCurrently accessibly only within the Technion network
Abstract: In this work we show that a simple (ON-OFF) jamming attack on a wireless distance vector protocol, which repeatedly takes down one or several links temporarily, can have a global effect on the network and be as harmful as a sophisticated Network layer attack that usually requires the attacker to gain control of at least one legitimate node. This attack takes advantage of the nodes' limited awareness of topological changes and the long recovery after link failures when distance vector routing is used. To present the attack in a specific context, we consider the new RPL protocol, which plays an important role in the context of Smart City and Smart Utility networks. RPL is a protocol for Low power and Lossy Networks (LLNs), in which devices that are constrained in their energy, computational power and memory are connected by lossy wireless links. We describe the RPL approach to recover from link failures and show that this protocol is susceptible to the proposed attack. We show how to maximize the impact of the attack by choosing the most effective ON and OFF period lengths. We also present a remedy technique and show that it can significantly alleviate the impact of the proposed attack.
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