Slede: A Domain-Specific Verification Framework for Sensor Network Security Protocol Implementations

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Finding flaws in security protocol implementations is hard. Finding flaws in the implementations of sensor network security protocols is even harder because they are designed to protect against more system failures compared to traditional protocols. Formal verification techniques such as model checking, theorem proving, etc, have been very successful in the past in detecting faults in security protocol specifications; however, they generally require that a formal description of the protocol, often called model, is developed before the verification can start. There are three factors that make model construction, and as a result, formal verification is hard. First, knowledge of the specialized language used to construct the model is necessary. Second, upfront effort is required to produce an artifact that is only useful during verification, which might be considered wasteful by some, and third, manual model construction is error prone and may lead to inconsistencies between the implementation and the model. The key contribution of this work is Slede, an approach for automated formal verification of sensor network security protocols. Technical underpinnings of our approach includes a technique for automatically extracting a model from the nesC implementations of a security protocol, a technique for composing this extracted model with models of intrusion and network topologies, and a technique for translating the results of the verification process to domain terms. Our approach is sound and complete within bounds, i.e. if it reports a fault scenario for a protocol, there is indeed a fault and our framework terminates for a network topology of given size; otherwise no faults in the protocol are present that can be exploited in the network topology of that size or less using the given intrusion model. Our approach also does not require upfront model construction, which significantly decreases the cost of verification.

Bib Info

  author = {Youssef Hanna and Hridesh Rajan and Wensheng Zhang},
  title = {Slede: A Domain-Specific Verification Framework for Sensor Network Security Protocol Implementations},
  booktitle = {ACM Conference on Wireless Network Security (WiSec)},
  location = {Alexandria, Virginia, USA.},
  month = {March 31 -- April 2},
  year = {2008},

Other Info

A previous version of this paper appeared as Technical Report 07-09, Iowa State University, June 11, 2007.

See also the following for a preliminary poster paper on this topic: