Secure time synchronization in sensor networks

Saurabh Ganeriwal, Christina Pöpper, Srdjan Čapkun, Mani B. Srivastava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Time synchronization is critical in sensor networks at many layers of their design. It enables better duty-cycling of the radio, accurate and secure localization, beamforming, and other collaborative signal processing tasks. These benefits make time-synchronization protocols a prime target of malicious adversaries who want to disrupt the normal operation of a sensor network. In this article, we analyze attacks on existing time synchronization protocols for wireless sensor networks and we propose a secure time synchronization toolbox to counter these attacks. This toolbox includes protocols for secure pairwise and group synchronization of nodes that either lie in the neighborhood of each other or are separated by multiple hops. We provide an in-depth analysis of the security and the energy overhead of the proposed protocols. The efficiency of these protocols has been tested through an experimental study on Mica2 motes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalACM Transactions on Information and System Security
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008


  • Delay
  • Message authentication code
  • Sensor networks
  • Time synchronization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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