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Secure Middleware for Embedded Peer to Peer systems

Project Overview: 

 Embedded Peer-to-Peer Systems (EP2P) represented an interesting challenge in the development of software for distributed systems. This scenario consisted of systems in which all the heterogeneous elements of the network (sensor nodes, PDAs, PCs) are symmetrical (i.e. all elements can behave as clients or servers) and in most cases, the mechanisms of communication are not based on pre-existing infrastructures. One of the keys in the success of these systems was the possibility to abstract all these problems by means of convenient middleware. The development of such a middleware was actually challenging, since besides the disappearance of the roles of client and server, other critical requirements appeared, which had to be supported by these infrastructures: mobility, discovery and localization protocols, new quality of software criteria, new security problems, etc.

Precisely, the role of NICS in this project was completely focused on the design of the security architecture for the middleware [1], and on the development of the different security mechanisms that should be used by the other elements of the middleware. As a result, we specified a transversal layer that not only retained the benefits of both layered (modularity, interoperability, design longevity) and cross-layered architectures (optimization, tunable design), but also controlled the disadvantages caused by cross-layered systems (hidden dependencies, poor maintainability) [2]. Moreover, we also designed the security mechanisms that allowed the secure management of groups (joining, leaving, information exchanging). Note that the owner of every group was also able to specify the security level of the group (e.g. using pre-shared keys or public key cryptography to enter inside the group).
  1. R. J. Caro, et al., SMEPP: A Secure Middleware for Embedded P2P“, ICT Mobile and Wireless Communications Summit (ICT-MobileSummit’09), June, 2009.   
  2. R. Roman, J. Lopez, and P. Najera, A Cross-layer Approach for Integrating Security Mechanisms in Sensor Networks Architectures“, Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing, vol. 11, Wiley, pp. 267-276, 2011. DOI   (I.F.: 0.884)