Hash functions have long been used to address digital security requirements, such as integrity, message authentication and non-repudiation. In a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN), the functions are used to preserve sensor nodes’ identity (i.e. to generate and verify dynamic pseudonyms to identify sensor nodes in communication sessions).
Computer scientists at the University of Manchester have recently conducted a comprehensive study of the use of hash values and hash value truncations in preserving node ID privacy, and balancing security and performance in the context of a wireless sensor network. The group considered a comprehensive selection of factors, including ease of launching security attacks, hash value collisions, the implications of these collisions on computational costs, trade-offs in terms of energy costs and end-to-end packet delivery delays.
The research comprised theoretical analysis and simulation studies to provide important findings and insights into the trade-offs between achieving privacy and maintaining performance. It is anticipated that this study will provide a valuable resource, not only to the sensor network community, but also those working with emerging technologies such as fog computing and biometrics.