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A security protocol for ad hoc wireless networks should satisfy the following requirements. The requirements listed below should in fact be met by security protocols for other types of networks also.

  • Confidentiality: The data sent by the sender (source node) must be comprehensible only to the intended receiver (destination node). Though an intruder might get hold of the data being sent, he/she must not be able to derive any useful information out of the data. One of the popular techniques used for ensuring confidentiality is data encryption.

  • Integrity: The data sent by the source node should reach the destination node as it was sent: unaltered. In other words, it should not be possible for any malicious node in the network to tamper with the data during transmission.

  • Availability: The network should remain operational all the time. It must be robust enough to tolerate link failures and also be capable of surviving various attacks mounted on it. It should be able to provide the guaranteed services whenever an authorized user requires them.

  • Non-repudiation: Non-repudiation is a mechanism to guarantee that the sender of a message cannot later deny having sent the message and that the recipient cannot deny having received the message. Digital signatures, which function as unique identifiers for each user, much like a written signature, are used commonly for this purpose.

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