Research Topics

Secure Decentralization in Dynamic Networks

In a dynamic network the topology may change at any time and often. This can be due to the mobility of nodes or changes in the environmental conditions resulting in interruptions, delays, and limited communication. Examples of such networks are the emerging cases of smart vehicles in smart cities, in which many parties communicate directly with each other, or next-generation spacecraft networks, in which satellites actually allow for multi-hop network communications in space instead of the conventional dish-to-satellite direct communication. Key issues in these areas are currently being addressed, like protocols or routing, e.g., see the IEEE 802.11p standard for V2X communication or Bundle Protocol for Delay Tolerant Networks.

However, there are many challenges for security in such networks. Many established security approaches (e.g., in the internet) rely on central authorities, and thus are not applicable. Aside from the fact that reliable communication to central entities is very hard to guarantee, a single agreed-on authority among many parties may not be possible at all for political reasons, e.g., different car manufacturers would have to agree to trust a single authority that has some control over all cars. Thus, in such networks there is a need for decentralized security approaches, that work with limited resources and a harsh communication environment.