A wireless sensor network (WSN) is defined as a set of spatially distributed and interconnected sensor nodes. WSNs allow one to monitor and recognize environmental phenomena such as soil moisture, air pollution, and health data. Because of the very limited resources available in sensors, the collected data from WSNs are often characterized as unreliable or uncertain. However, applications using WSNs demand precise readings, and uncertainty in data reading can cause serious damage (e.g., health monitoring data). Therefore, an efficient local/distributed data processing algorithm is needed to ensure: (1) the extraction of precise and reliable values from noisy readings; (2) the detection of anomalies from data reported by sensors; and (3) the identification of outlier sensors in a WSN. Several works have been conducted to achieve these objectives using several techniques such as machine learning algorithms, mathematical modeling, and clustering. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a systematic literature review to report the available works on outlier and anomaly detection in WSNs. The paper highlights works conducted from January 2004 to October 2018. A total of 3520 papers are reviewed in the initial search process. Later, these papers are filtered by title, abstract, and contents, and a total of 117 papers are selected. These papers are examined to answer the defined research questions. The current paper presents an improved taxonomy of outlier detection techniques. This will help researchers and practitioners to find the most relevant and recent studies related to outlier detection in WSNs. Finally, the paper identifies existing gaps that future studies can fill.
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