In multi-hop mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), mobile nodes cooperate with each other without using any infrastructure such as access points or base stations. Security remains a major challenge for these networks due to their features of open medium, dynamically changing topologies, reliance on cooperative algorithms, absence of centralized monitoring points, and lack of clear lines of defense. Among the various attacks to which MANETs are vulnerable, malicious packet dropping attack is very common where a malicious node can partially degrade or completely disrupt communication in the network by consistently dropping packets. In this paper, a mechanism for detection of packet dropping attack is presented based on cooperative participation of the nodes in a MANET. The redundancy of routing information in an ad hoc network is utilized to make the scheme robust so that it works effectively even in presence of transient network partitioning and Byzantine failure of nodes. The proposed scheme is fully cooperative and thus more secure as the vulnerabilities of any election algorithm used for choosing a subset of nodes for cooperation are absent. Simulation results show the effectiveness of the protocol. ©2007 IEEE.
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