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Security and Privacy in Body Sensor Networks: Challenges, Solutions, and Research Directions

Security and Privacy in Body Sensor Networks: Challenges, Solutions, and Research Directions
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Author(s): Wassim Itani (American University of Beirut, Lebanon), Ayman Kayssi (American University of Beirut, Lebanon) and Ali Chehab (American University of Beirut, Lebanon)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 28
Source title: E-Healthcare Systems and Wireless Communications: Current and Future Challenges
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mohamed K. Watfa (University of Wollongong, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-123-8.ch005


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In this chapter, we present a comprehensive survey of the state of the art research in the field of body sensor networks security and privacy. We identify the main security challenges introduced by body sensor networks by thoroughly analyzing the specifics of this category of wireless sensor networks and present the prominent security and privacy architectures available to protect body sensor infrastructures. The presented protocols are categorized based on the security services they provide. Moreover, the chapter studies two main challenges that we believe are the most critical in the body sensor network security and privacy context: (1) achieving the correct balance between the complexity of the protocol security operations employed and the energy consumption they incur, and (2) attaining the right tradeoff between privacy and safety by utilizing the patient’s vital signals and other context-related information to minimize the amount of private data released. To provide a practical insight into the presented concepts, this chapter presents an overview of the main cryptographic APIs available in popular sensor networks operating systems such as TinyOS and recommends a collection of best practices and usage patterns for developing secure sensor health care applications and services. We conclude by presenting a blueprint body sensor network security framework employing a secure combination of the technical building blocks described in the chapter sections. Recommendations on the advantages and drawbacks of each building block are suggested whenever the latter is added to the security framework.

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