Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials • 2nd Quarter 2006.


Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are used in many applications in military, ecological, and health-related areas. These applications often include the monitoring of sensitive information such as enemy movement on the battlefield or the location of personnel in a building. Security is therefore important in WSNs. However, WSNs suffer from many constraints, including low computation capability, small memory, limited energy resources, susceptibility to physical capture, and the use of insecure wireless communication channels. These constraints make security in WSNs a challenge. In this article we present a survey of security issues in WSNs. First we outline the constraints, security requirements, and attacks with their corresponding countermeasures in WSNs. We then present a holistic view of security issues. These issues are classified into five categories: cryptography, key management, secure routing, secure data aggregation, and intrusion detection. Along the way we highlight the advantages and disadvantages of various WSN security protocols and further compare and evaluate these protocols based on each of these five categories. We also point out the open research issues in each subarea and conclude with possible future research directions on security in WSNs.