Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are often deployed in hostile environments, where an adversary can physically capture some of the sensor nodes. The adversary collects all the nodes’ important credentials and subsequently replicate the nodes, which may expose the network to a number of other security attacks, and eventually compromise the entire network. This harmful attack where a single or more nodes illegitimately claims an identity as replicas is known as the node replication attack. The problem of node replication attack can be further aggravated due to the mobile nature in WSN. In this paper, we propose an extended version of multi-level replica detection technique built on Danger Theory (DT), which utilizes a hybrid approach (centralized and distributed) to shield the mobile wireless sensor networks (MWSNs) from clone attacks. The danger theory concept depends on a multi-level of detections; first stage (highlights the danger zone (DZ) by checking the abnormal behavior of mobile nodes), second stage (battery check and random number) and third stage (inform about replica to other networks). The DT method performance is highlighted through security parameters such as false negative, energy, detection time, communication overhead and delay in detection. The proposed approach also demonstrates that the hybrid DT method is capable and successful in detecting and mitigating any malicious activities initiated by the replica. Nowadays, crimes are vastly increasing and it is crucial to modify the systems accordingly. Indeed, it is understood that the communication needs to be secured by keen observation at each level of detection. The simulation results show that the proposed approach overcomes the weaknesses of the previous and existing centralized and distributed approaches and enhances the performance of MWSN in terms of communication and memory overhead.
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