Providing security to wireless sensor networks is very challenging, as they include protection against damages, losses, attacks, and dangers. Moreover, a wireless sensor node has limited computation power, limited memory, and limited I/O resources. The classic security issues that are usually considered in wireless sensor networks are upholding the secrecy and avoiding intrusion. Securing access to wireless networks in general is a difficult task when compared to fixed/wired networks because wireless networks use wireless transmission medium. Securing access to WSNs is more challenging than for traditional wireless networks. This is mainly due to the limited resources of WSNs and to the harsh working environments of these systems in most cases.
In this chapter, we present key issues, challenges, vulnerabilities, attacks, existing solutions, and comparison of major security techniques related to WSNs.
In general, WSNs are heterogeneous systems. They contain general-purpose computing elements with actuators and tiny sensors. Moreover, these computing elements have limited computational power, limited power, limited bandwidth, and limited peripherals. These aspects of WSNs make it difficult and challenging to design a secure WSN system [1–71], as secured schemes require computational power, large memory, and more power consumption, among other resources.
Moreover, providing security in WSNs is not an easy task because of the resource limitation on sensor nodes, high risk of physical attacks, density and size of networks, unknown topology prior to deployment, and also due to the nature and characteristics of wireless communication channels.