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Sensors 2016, 16(9), 1453;

Channel-Based Key Generation for Encrypted Body-Worn Wireless Sensor Networks

Department of Information Technology, Ghent University/iMinds, Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 15, 9052 Gent, Belgium
Academic Editors: Massimo Poncino and Ka Lok Man
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 31 August 2016 / Accepted: 6 September 2016 / Published: 8 September 2016
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Body-worn sensor networks are important for rescue-workers, medical and many other applications. Sensitive data are often transmitted over such a network, motivating the need for encryption. Body-worn sensor networks are deployed in conditions where the wireless communication channel varies dramatically due to fading and shadowing, which is considered a disadvantage for communication. Interestingly, these channel variations can be employed to extract a common encryption key at both sides of the link. Legitimate users share a unique physical channel and the variations thereof provide data series on both sides of the link, with highly correlated values. An eavesdropper, however, does not share this physical channel and cannot extract the same information when intercepting the signals. This paper documents a practical wearable communication system implementing channel-based key generation, including an implementation and a measurement campaign comprising indoor as well as outdoor measurements. The results provide insight into the performance of channel-based key generation in realistic practical conditions. Employing a process known as key reconciliation, error free keys are generated in all tested scenarios. The key-generation system is computationally simple and therefore compatible with the low-power micro controllers and low-data rate transmissions commonly used in wireless sensor networks. View Full-Text
Keywords: body-centric communication; wireless sensor networks; key generation; encryption body-centric communication; wireless sensor networks; key generation; encryption

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Van Torre, P. Channel-Based Key Generation for Encrypted Body-Worn Wireless Sensor Networks. Sensors 2016, 16, 1453.

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