Secure multicast group management and key distribution in IEEE 802.21

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Controlling a large number of devices such as sensors and smart end points, is always a challenge where scalability and security are indispensable. This is even more important when it comes to periodic configuration updates to a large number of such devices belonging to one or more groups. One solution could be to take a group of devices as a unit of control and then manage them through a group communication mechanism. An obvious challenge to this approach is how to create such groups dynamically and manage them securely. Moreover, there need to be mechanisms in place by which members of the group can be removed and added dynamically. In this paper, we propose a technique that has been recently standardized in IEEE 802.21 (IEEE Std 802.21d™-2015) with the objective of providing a standard-based solution to the above challenges. The approach relies on Logical Key Hierarchy (LKH) based key distribution mechanism but optimizes the number of encryption and decryption by using "Complete Subtree". It leverages IEEE 802.21 framework, services, and protocol for communication and management, and provides a scalable and secure way to manage (e.g., add and remove) devices from one or more groups. We describe the group key distribution protocol in details and provide a security analysis of the scheme along with some performance results from a prototype implementation.




Hanatani, Y., Ogura, N., Ohba, Y., Chen, L., & Das, S. (2016). Secure multicast group management and key distribution in IEEE 802.21. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 10074 LNCS, pp. 227–243). Springer Verlag.

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