Traditionally, the Internet was designed as a global communication network, allowing computers to exchange information. In the last decade, other types of devices, such as smartphones, have started connecting to the Internet. Currently, we are at the brink of another evolution, called the Internet of Things (IoT). It envisions connecting everyday appliances and devices to the Internet, such as washing machines, heart rate sensors and traffic lights. This evolution paves the way for society-benefiting applications, such as traffic lights that minimize car waiting time and remote monitoring of heart patients.
However, connecting all these devices to the public Internet also carries great risk, as users with malicious intent can hack them to retrieve private information, or even worse, take control of them. To prevent this, and allow critical applications to be safely used in the IoT, the (often wireless) network that connects these devices to the Internet must be secured against hacking attempts and be made tolerant (i.e., resilient) against failures in case something does go wrong. However, this is a very challenging problem, since wireless communications can be easily intercepted or changed. Moreover, many devices are placed in public locations, making them susceptible to tampering. Finally, many envisioned IoT devices could move around (e.g., smartphones or implanted sensors), which further complicates things.
The goal of this project is to make wireless IoT networks more secure and resilient. Three types of problems will be addressed: (i) internal attacks, (ii) external attacks and (iii) network failures. Internal attacks originate from a device that is already part of the network, caused by malicious (e.g., hackers that take control of a device) or selfish (e.g., users saving their own battery at the cost of others) behaviour. External attacks originate from outside the network and include hackers trying to find security holes. Finally, network failures are caused by unintentional errors, such as software bugs or malfunctioning hardware.