Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Ramkumar, Mahalingam

Committee Member

Vaughn, Rayford B.

Committee Member

Dampier, David A.

Committee Member

Dandass, Yoginder S.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Computer Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Nodes taking part in mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) are expected to adhere to the rules dictated by the routing protocol employed in the subnet. Secure routing protocols attempt to reduce the ill-effect of nodes under the control of malicious entities who deliberately violate the protocol. Most secure routing protocols are reactive strategies which include elements like redundancies and cryptographic authentication to detect inconsistencies in routing data advertised by nodes, and perhaps explicit measures to react to detected inconsistencies. The approach presented in this dissertation is a proactive approach motivated by the question “what is a minimal trusted computing base for a MANET node?” Specifically, the goal of the research was to identify a small set of well-defined low-complexity functions, simple enough to be executed inside highly resource limited trusted boundaries, which can ensure that nodes will not be able to violate the protocol. In the proposed approach every node is assumed to possess a low complexity trusted MANET module (TMM). Only the TMM in a node is trusted - all other hardware and software are assumed to be untrusted or even hostile. TMMs offer a set of interfaces to the untrusted node housing the TMM, using which the node can submit data to the TMM for cryptographic verification and authentication. As other nodes will not accept packets that are not authenticated by TMMs, the untrusted node is forced to submit any data that it desires to advertise, to its TMM. TMMs will authenticate data only if the untrusted node can convince the TMM of the validity of the data. The operations performed by TMMs are to accept, verify, validate data submitted by the untrusted node, and authenticate such data to TMMs housed in other nodes. We enumerate various TMM interfaces and provide a concrete description of the functionality behind the interfaces for popular ad hoc routing protocols.