Collaborative authentication in decentralized dense mobile networks with key predistribution

Xuan Zha*, Wei Ni, Kangfeng Zheng, Ren Ping Liu, Xinxin Niu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Challenges of authentication in decentralized mobile networks arise from frequently changing topologies and unreliable contention-based transmissions. We propose a new protocol to speed up authentications, reduce communication costs, and support opportunistic routing under fast-changing topologies. Key pairs are predistributed across the network. Nodes that predistributed the same pair can instantly verify and route messages for each other in an opportunistic and cooperative fashion, combating fast-changing topologies. We also enable a node to increasingly combine unauthenticated messages and a new message for signature or message authentication code generation, while trying different keys on-the-fly. The messages can be verified altogether, once a key is matched. The communication overhead, thus, becomes independent of the number of keys tried. Closed-form expressions for authentication rate, delay, and throughput are derived through a new three-dimensional Markov model. Validated by simulations, analytical results corroborate the robustness of the proposed protocol against changing topologies, as well as the substantially improved resistance to collusion attacks, as compared with the state of the art.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7931680
Pages (from-to)2261-2275
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • decentralized mobile network
  • authentication
  • key predistribution
  • opportunistic routing
  • Markov model


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