A Blockchain-Based Authentication Protocol for Cooperative Vehicular Ad Hoc Network
- A blockchain based authentication schema is proposed so that, before accepting any information or service from any other source, IoVs will check the authenticity of the sender by sending a request to the blockchain. Blockchain is responsible for storing authentication information of the IoVs in a distributed fashion and supports digital signature based cryptography to ensure additional security services. IoVs have to register to their LACs to get key pairs. The public key of an IoV will be their identity during communication to preserve the privacy, and a private key will be used to send a request to the blockchain. The blockchain server will provide the reply in the form of 1 and 0, which means authentic and not-authentic, respectively.
- To increase the range as well as the quality of communication, a cooperative communication protocol is proposed where IoVs can become helper nodes to relay a message or service on behalf of the original sender to those IoVs who do not have a strong communication link with the sender. All the receiver IoVs will check the authenticity of the service providers as well as the helper node before accepting any message or service. An optimization algorithm is also proposed to select the best helper node.
- To increase the authentication speed, IoVs are divided into two types where emergency service providers are considered as EVs. Moreover, transmitted messages or services are also divided into two types and important information is considered as EMs and get priorities during transmissions and are delivered before 100 ms. To remove congested traffic for the EVs, EMs are broadcasted so that the nearby IoVs can give free passage to the EVs.
2. Previous Works
Problem Statements and Motivations
- Avoiding malicious or bad intended vehicles involved in the VANET authentication of the vehicles is required. To ensure the authentication of vehicles for VANETs, several methods were presented, but blockchain based systems could be a better option with additional features like decentralization, distribution, flexibility, robustness, temper-resistance, immutability, transparency, fairness, etc. Regular certificate based protocols are not able to provide all these features together.
- To ensure the security of the communication, an encryption method is crucial, but blockchains usually use strong digital signature methods for encryption, which required a good amount of computational time to perform. For example, ECDSA is used by a Ethereum blockchain which required nearly 10 ms to perform one signature and verification . To minimize that a light-weight encryption algorithm like RSA-1024 could be used will provide a security strength of 80 bits and require one-third the time of ECDSA .
- Preserving the privacy of the vehicles is required because identity theft could be performed by malicious entities to perform illegal activities by using it. Hiding the original identity of the IoVs’ could use public keys that can be assigned by the registration centers during registration. The real identities should be mapped with the respective public key and stored in a secured place will preserving the privacy of the IoVs.
- All of the transmitted messages are not the same in terms of importance. Thus, it requires to handle EMs separately by giving high priorities. Moreover, the performance of the GMT is also important in order to maintain by minimizing the delay, collision, and PDR.
- In the previously proposed papers, all the vehicles get equal priority, and there is no special priority for the emergency service provider vehicles. Classification of vehicles will add extra optimization, and ensuring priorities for the emergency IoVs during authentication and driving as well as classification of message or service types also provides priorities to the emergency messages during transmissions. Handling EVs separately by giving them preference while driving can help with performing emergency tasks quickly.
- As cooperation can increase the reliability and range of communication, it could be used for VSN. A cooperation protocol is required to be well managed to increase the throughput by minimizing the delay and PDR. Moreover, it requires handling both the general and emergency messages separately and to ensure SDR for EMs.
- Many of the previously proposed protocols utilize RSU for various support like computational, storage, management, etc. However, it requires additional infrastructural cost to construct RSU and maintain. On the other hand, ITS with internet facility could remove the expansive infrastructural cost of RSU by using EDGE computing services or from servers situated anywhere in the world.
3. System Structure
3.1. Registration and Classification of IoVs
3.2. Authentication Process
3.3. Cooperation Details
Direct or Cooperative Communication?
3.4. Vehicular Social Networking
3.4.1. Emergency Message Transmission (EMT)
- When an emergency situation comes, IoV (S) uses CCH to broadcast an EM. All of the receivers who receive that message will send the sender’s public key (SPK) with the type of the IoV to the blockchain to get the authenticity of the S. A nearby local server will handle the request and search in the database and send authorization if it is found or un-authorized.
- All the neighbouring nodes can sense that a message is broadcasted , but it may happen that, because of packet collision or weak network connections, a receiver (R) may not receive the EM. R will wait to receive it until Short Inter Frame Space (SIFS) and then broadcast NACK to its neighbours by informing that an EM transmission is unsuccessful.
- A NACK packet includes a unique NACK-ID, public keys of the sender (SPK) and the receiver (RPK) and the SINR between them (see Figure 2).
- S will wait for NACK until T (max time for successful transmission), and, if it does not receive any NACK within that time, it will consider the transmission to be successful.
- The IoVs who receive NACK and want to help the receiver firstly check the authenticity of the NACK sender by sending a request to the blockchain. Upon getting confirmation of the R’s authentication, it sends a Keen to Help (KTH) message to the sender by including NACK-ID, SPK and RPK. Helpers address (HPK) SINR between the helper and receiver and the packet id. KTH must be received by the sender within SIFS; otherwise, the transmission will be considered as successful, and no cooperation will be required.
- Even after T sender can receive KTH, which also provides information about a failed transmission. From the KTH, the sender checks the authenticity of only the optimal helper i.e., the one that has the lowest SINR from the blockchain server. Then, S sends SHM to the helper by including NACK-ID, sender, receiver and selected optimal helpers’ public keys. The sender stops receiving KTH from any other IoVs after sending the SHM.
- For every fail transmission, there will be different NACKs and, based on SINR between the helpers, it may be different for the same receiver. The cooperation is initiated by the receiver, which ensures that cooperation is performed only when necessary and to ensure the reliability of the communication. A blockchain based authentication service ensures that no unauthorized or fake IoVs can interface with the communication. In Figure 4, a flow chart is given to show the steps.
3.4.2. General Message/Service Transmission (GMT)
- Whenever a sender or server want to offer a message or service, it broadcasts WSA by using the CCH. The WSA packet consists of WSA-ID, the public keys of the sender and the receiver, ID of the Basic Service Set (BSS-ID), Service ID (SER), SINR, the Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (EDCA), SCH of the sender, etc.
- The interested IoVs can check the authenticity of the sender by initiating a search request to the blockchain server. After getting the positive confirmation from the authentication center, the receiver will send a WTI packet by including the WSA-ID, ID of the WTI (WTI-ID), SPK, RPK, SINR, etc.
- If a potential receiver is not able to send Cooperative WAVE Service Advertisement (CWSA), the server will wait for a helper who has a better connection with the receiver.
- A helper who wants to cooperate and have a strong connection between the sender and the receiver checks the authenticity of the receiver by using the blockchain. Then, it sends CWSA to the sender by including WTI-ID with SPK, RPK, helper’s ID (HPK), SINRm channel information, etc.
- A server will check the SINR of the helpers and discover the node with minimum SINR. Then, it will check the authenticity of the potential helper and send back SHM packet with the DATA. The server then transfers the data or general message or service to the helper, and the helper starts sending data to the receiver. The receiver checks the authenticity of the helper and then starts receiving by using a cooperative service.
- After sending SHM to a helper, the server stops receiving any other CWSA with the same WSA-ID. In Figure 6, a flow chart is given to show the steps.
5. Performance Analysis
5.1. Cooperative Transmission Protocol
- = probability of successful transmissions,
- = probability to find that the channel is busy,
- L = length of the packets,
- = probability of not getting a helper,
- = slot time,
- = probability of successful transmission with cooperation,
- = probability of collision.
5.1.3. Packet Dropping Rate (PDR)
5.2. Authentication Protocol
5.2.1. Computational Overhead
5.2.2. Storage Overhead
5.3. Security Analysis
- The proposed method ensures the authenticity of the message or service provider vehicles. Whenever an IoV broadcast any EM, before accepting that message, IoVs first check the authenticity of that vehicle. Similarly, with the proposed schema, IoVs are able to ensure the authenticity of the help seeker and the helper too.
- RSA-1024 provides security that provides security strength of 80-bits. Thus, it requires operations to break the key that is strong enough for low power vehicles .
- IoVs are registered with their real identity, but afterwards identified by their public keys. During any type of communication, IoVs use their public keys instead of real IDs, which preserve their privacy. The original identities are stored safely in a blockchain based secured system, and an attacker will not be able to get the real identity of the vehicles even if they got the key pairs.
- The communication with the blockchain is encrypted by a digital signature algorithm that ensures security, confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation of the transaction. Encryption also prevents the message from being modified or fabricated by attackers and also from the man in the middle (MITM) attack.
- LACs perform physical verification of the IoVs during registration so that no fake software can perform any kind of malicious operations in the proposed system. It makes the system safe from different types of unknown source attacks, Sybil attacks and prevents any action performed by unauthorized entities. Moreover, as all the IoVs are required to be authenticated to perform any operation in the VANET, the system is safe from deadly DDoS attacks  as well.
- As multiple servers (LACs) are available to provide services in every province, the system is fully distributed and decentralized in the aspect of storage and execution.
- Blockchain with smart contracts added some extraordinary features like immutable storage facility, transparent storing and transactions, flexibility in accessing and managing, tamper-resistance storage, the fairness of transactions, and robustness of the stored data.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Machine||No of CPU||Memory||Storage||OS|
|LAC-VM||2||3 GB||30 GB||Ubuntu-18.04.4-desktop-amd64|
|IoV-VM||1||2 GB||20 GB||Ubuntu-18.04.4-desktop-amd64|
|IoV-VM||1||2 GB||20 GB||Ubuntu-18.04.4-desktop-amd64|
|IoV-VM||1||2 GB||20 GB||Ubuntu-18.04.4-desktop-amd64|
|IoV-VM||1||2 GB||20 GB||Windows 7 Ultimate (64 Bit)|
|IoV-VM||1||2 GB||20 GB||Windows 7 Ultimate (64 Bit)|
|Slot time||20 (s)|
|Propagation delay||1 (s)|
|DCF & Short Inter-frame space||DIFS, SIFS||50, 10 (s)|
|Size of the packet||, L||50, 512 (bytes)|
|Control packets||NACK, KTH, SHM||20, 26, 24 (bytes)|
|Control packets||WTI, WSA, CWSA||24, 25, 27 (bytes)|
|Transmission range, arrival rate||R, R, l||11, 1, 0.5 (Mbps)|
|Contention window size||CW||64 (bytes)|
|Transmission range||r||500 (m)|
|Lane width||w||5 (m)|
|IoVs density||D||0–0.5 (veh/m)|
|IoVs velocity||v||80 (km/h)|
|Average inter-vehicle distance||b||10 (m)|
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Akhter, A.F.M.S.; Ahmed, M.; Shah, A.F.M.S.; Anwar, A.; Kayes, A.S.M.; Zengin, A. A Blockchain-Based Authentication Protocol for Cooperative Vehicular Ad Hoc Network. Sensors 2021, 21, 1273. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041273
Akhter AFMS, Ahmed M, Shah AFMS, Anwar A, Kayes ASM, Zengin A. A Blockchain-Based Authentication Protocol for Cooperative Vehicular Ad Hoc Network. Sensors. 2021; 21(4):1273. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041273Chicago/Turabian Style
Akhter, A. F. M. Suaib, Mohiuddin Ahmed, A. F. M. Shahen Shah, Adnan Anwar, A. S. M. Kayes, and Ahmet Zengin. 2021. "A Blockchain-Based Authentication Protocol for Cooperative Vehicular Ad Hoc Network" Sensors 21, no. 4: 1273. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041273