Bayesian and machine learning based trust models; Cognitive radio networks; Dynamic spectrum access networks; Information assurance; Robust fusion; Trust and reputation scoring; Trust metrics; Wireless network security


Dynamic spectrum access enabled by cognitive radio networks are envisioned to drive the next generation wireless networks that can increase spectrum utility by opportunistically accessing unused spectrum. Due to the policy constraint that there could be no interference to the primary (licensed) users, secondary cognitive radios have to continuously sense for primary transmissions. Typically, sensing reports from multiple cognitive radios are fused as stand-alone observations are prone to errors due to wireless channel characteristics. Such dependence on cooperative spectrum sensing is vulnerable to attacks such as Secondary Spectrum Data Falsification (SSDF) attacks when multiple malicious or selfish radios falsify the spectrum reports. Hence, there is a need to quantify the trustworthiness of radios that share spectrum sensing reports and devise malicious node identification and robust fusion schemes that would lead to correct inference about spectrum usage. In this work, we propose an anomaly monitoring technique that can effectively capture anomalies in the spectrum sensing reports shared by individual cognitive radios during cooperative spectrum sensing in a multi-channel distributed network. Such anomalies are used as evidence to compute the trustworthiness of a radio by its neighbours. The proposed anomaly monitoring technique works for any density of malicious nodes and for any physical environment. We propose an optimistic trust heuristic for a system with a normal risk attitude and show that it can be approximated as a beta distribution. For a more conservative system, we propose a multinomial Dirichlet distribution based conservative trust framework, where Josang*s Belief model is used to resolve any uncertainty in information that might arise during anomaly monitoring. Using a machine learning approach, we identify malicious nodes with a high degree of certainty regardless of their aggressiveness and variations introduced by the pathloss environment. We also propose extensions to the anomaly monitoring technique that facilitate learning about strategies employed by malicious nodes and also utilize the misleading information they provide. We also devise strategies to defend against a collaborative SSDF attack that is launched by a coalition of selfish nodes. Since, defense against such collaborative attacks is difficult with popularly used voting based inference models or node centric isolation techniques, we propose a channel centric Bayesian inference approach that indicates how much the collective decision on a channels occupancy inference can be trusted. Based on the measured observations over time, we estimate the parameters of the hypothesis of anomalous and non-anomalous events using a multinomial Bayesian based inference. We quantitatively define the trustworthiness of a channel inference as the difference between the posterior beliefs associated with anomalous and non-anomalous events. The posterior beliefs are updated based on a weighted average of the prior information on the belief itself and the recently observed data. Subsequently, we propose robust fusion models which utilize the trusts of the nodes to improve the accuracy of the cooperative spectrum sensing decisions. In particular, we propose three fusion models: (i) optimistic trust based fusion, (ii) conservative trust based fusion, and (iii) inversion based fusion. The former two approaches exclude untrustworthy sensing reports for fusion, while the last approach utilizes misleading information. All schemes are analyzed under various attack strategies. We propose an asymmetric weighted moving average based trust management scheme that quickly identifies on-off SSDF attacks and prevents quick trust redemption when such nodes revert back to temporal honest behavior. We also provide insights on what attack strategies are more effective from the adversaries* perspective. Through extensive simulation experiments we show that the trust models are effective in identifying malicious nodes with a high degree of certainty under variety of network and radio conditions. We show high true negative detection rates even when multiple malicious nodes launch collaborative attacks which is an improvement over existing voting based exclusion and entropy divergence techniques. We also show that we are able to improve the accuracy of fusion decisions compared to other popular fusion techniques. Trust based fusion schemes show worst case decision error rates of 5% while inversion based fusion show 4% as opposed majority voting schemes that have 18% error rate. We also show that the proposed channel centric Bayesian inference based trust model is able to distinguish between attacked and non-attacked channels for both static and dynamic collaborative attacks. We are also able to show that attacked channels have significantly lower trust values than channels that are not– a metric that can be used by nodes to rank the quality of inference on channels.


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Graduation Date





Chatterjee, Mainak


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Engineering and Computer Science








Release Date

August 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science; Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic

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Engineering Commons