Defending against frequency-based attacks on distributed data storage in wireless networks

Hongbo Liu, Hui Wang, Yingying Chen, Dayong Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


As wireless networks become more pervasive, the amount of the wireless data is rapidly increasing. One of the biggest challenges of wide adoption of distributed data storage is how to store these data securely. In this work, we study the frequency-based attack, a type of attack that is different from previously wellstudied ones, that exploits additional adversary knowledge of domain values and/or their exact/approximate frequencies to crack the encrypted data. To cope with frequency-based attacks, the straightforward 1-to-1 substitution encryption functions are not sufficient. We propose a data encryption strategy based on 1-to-n substitution via dividing and emulating techniques to defend against the frequency-based attack, while enabling efficient query evaluation over encrypted data. We further develop two frameworks, incremental collection and clustered collection, which are used to defend against the global frequency-based attack when the knowledge of the global frequency in the network is not available. Built upon our basic encryption schemes, we derive two mechanisms, direct emulating and dual encryption, to handle updates on the data storage for energy-constrained sensor nodes and wireless devices. Our preliminary experiments with sensor nodes and extensive simulation results show that our data encryption strategy can achieve high security guarantee with low overhead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number49
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Algorithms
  • Frequency-based attack
  • Secure distrbuted data storage
  • Security
  • Wireless networks


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