Identifying a Malicious Node in a UAV Network

Aviram Zilberman, Ariel Stulman, Amit Dvir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the emergence of new and exciting wireless technologies and capabilities, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and the services they allow, stand to be a major influencer in our daily lives. Unfortunately, they are also prone to a plethora of security issues. Existing studies propose both prevention and identification schemes for various routing attacks. They do not, however, preclude future malicious attempts. Hence, in this work we identify the specific UAV that is compromising the network, with the specific purpose of flushing it out. The proposed solution combines secret sharing and cheating identification schemes with multi-path routing protocols, to deterministically pinpoint the compromised node that is cheating the UAV flock. It assures a quiet identification of the adversary creating new opportunities for its attack, even when facing a sophisticated adversary that selectively modifies data messages or re-routes them in within the network. We took special care to allow for applicability in existing networks by adhering to two basic principles: only using pre-existing standard routing protocols and not relying on a centralized or trusted third party node such as a base station. All information must be gleaned by each node using only primitives which already exist in the underlying communication protocols. We provide a rigorous mathematical proof of the cost bounds, and run simulations to prove feasibility. Moreover, the simulations show a 100% detection rate and message delivery rate. The communication overhead varies, on average, between 0.4 • 106 - 0.8 • 106 bytes, depending on various parameters such as the network size and the reception rate of network nodes. The time required varies between 0.2-0.4 seconds, depending mainly on the network size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1226-1240
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Attacker
  • DSR
  • UAV
  • cheating identification
  • location
  • malicious node
  • man-in-the-middle
  • secret sharing


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