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Experimental Evaluation of Energy-Based Denial-of Service Attacks in Wireless Networks


William West, Emmanuel Agu


Vol. 7  No. 6  pp. 222-236


Battery energy is frequently the most limiting resource on mobile devices. Energy-Based Denial-of-Service (e-Dos) attacks, in which malicious attackers initiate actions that can deplete the battery of a mobile node, have recently emerged. The feasibility of such attacks has been demonstrated at various layers of the network protocol stack and attention has been drawn to them. However, little work has been done to evaluate their effectiveness at different layers of a functional wireless network protocol stack or quantify the energy drain. In this paper, we investigate the energy profile of e-DoS packet flood attacks at the MAC, network, transport, application and physical (by moving the mobile node) layers in a real 802.11 wireless testbed. The AODV, OLSR and DSDV ad-hoc wireless routing protocols are tested. We gauge the effectiveness of our e-DoS attacks by measuring the increased energy consumption of the network card and estimating the resulting decrease in node/router lifetime. We investigate more sophisticated eDoS attacks that also write to the display and system hard disk that consume more energy than the network card. Finally, we demonstrate a combined eDoS attack on the network card, hard disk and system display that reduces battery lifetime by 25 percent. Our main goal is to gain a better understanding of this new emergent threat and also to inform new research in this field.


Wireless LAN, Protocol security, Energy measurement, Ad hoc networks