Secure localization with phantom node detection

Joengmin Hwang, Tian He, Yongdae Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In an adversarial environment, various kinds of attacks become possible if malicious nodes could claim fake locations that are different from their physical locations. In this paper, we propose a secure localization mechanism that detects existence of these nodes, termed as phantom nodes, without relying on any trusted entities, an approach significantly different from the existing ones. The proposed mechanism enjoys a set of nice features. First, it does not have any central point of attack. All nodes play the role of verifier, by generating local map, i.e. a view constructed based on ranging information from its neighbors. Second, this distributed and localized construction results in strong robustness against adversaries: even when the number of phantom nodes is greater than that of honest nodes, we can filter out most of the phantom nodes. Our analytical results as well as simulations under realistic noisy settings demonstrate that the proposed mechanism is effective in the presence of a large number of phantom nodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1050
Number of pages20
JournalAd Hoc Networks
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Tian He is currently an assistant professor in Department of Computer Science and Engineering at University of Minnesota-Twin City. He received the Ph.D. degree under Professor John A. Stankovic from the University of Virginia, Virginia in 2004, and the M.S. degree from the Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, in 2000, and the B.S. degree from the Nanjing University of Science & Technology, Nanjing, China in 1996. He is author and co-author of over sixty publications in premier sensor network conferences and journals with over a thousand citations. He has received many research awards in the area of sensor networking, including the best paper awards at the Second International Conference on Mobile Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks and the Fourth ACM Workshop on Security of Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks. He served several chair positions in international conferences and on many program committees, and also currently serves as an editorial board member for two international sensor network journals. His research includes wireless sensor networks, intelligent transportation systems, real-time embedded systems and distributed systems, supported by National Science Foundation and other agencies. He is a member of ACM and IEEE.


  • Decentralized algorithm
  • Localization
  • Location verification
  • Secure localization
  • Sensor networks
  • Speculative algorithm


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