RESCUE: A Resilient and Secure Device-to-Device Communication Framework for Emergencies

AuthorStute, Milan; Kohnhauser, Florian; Baumgärtner, Lars; Almon, Lars; Hollick, Matthias; Katzenbeisser, Stefan; Freisleben, Bernd
TypeJournal Article
AbstractDuring disasters, existing telecommunication infrastructures are often congested or even destroyed. In these situations, mobile devices can form a backup communication network for civilians and emergency services using disruption-tolerant networking (DTN) principles. Unfortunately, such distributed and resource-constrained networks are particularly susceptible to a wide range of attacks such as terrorists trying to cause more harm. In this paper, we present RESCUE, a resilient and secure device-to-device communication framework for emergency scenarios that provides comprehensive protection against common attacks. RESCUE features a minimalistic DTN protocol that, by design, is secure against notable attacks such as routing manipulations, dropping, message manipulations, blackholing, or impersonation. To further protect against message flooding and Sybil attacks, we present a twofold mitigation technique. First, a mobile and distributed certificate infrastructure particularly tailored to the emergency use case hinders the adversarial use of multiple identities. Second, a message buffer management scheme significantly increases resilience against flooding attacks, even if they originate from multiple identities, without introducing additional overhead. Finally, we demonstrate the effectiveness of RESCUE via large-scale simulations in a synthetic as well as a realistic natural disaster scenario. Our simulation results show that RESCUE achieves very good message delivery rates, even under flooding and Sybil attacks.
InIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing