Providing security is essential for mission critical Wireless Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks (WAHSN) applications. Often a highly secure mechanism inevitably consumes a rather large amount of system resources, which in turn may unintentionally cause a Security Service Denial of Service (SSDoS) attack. This paper proposes a self-adaptive resource-aware (SARA) security provisioning approach for WAHSNs. For resource scarce WAHSNs, SARA strives to provide the optimal tradeoff between the sufficient security (which is reflected by the Security Index (SI)) and the acceptable network performance degradation (which is reflected by the Performance Index (PI)). With the support of the offline optimal secure protocol selection module and the online self-adaptive security control module, SARA is capable of employing different combinations of secure protocol sets to satisfy different security need at different condition for different applications.
To determine the security index SI of a secure protocol set, a heuristic cross-layer security-service mapping mechanism is presented. Furthermore, we evaluate performance index PI of a secure protocol set via simulation followed by Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Consequently, the proposed self-adaptive security provisioning based on both SI and PI achieves the maximum overall network security services and network performance services, without causing the SSDoS attack. Furthermore, this self-adaptive mechanism is capable of switching from one secure protocol set to another while keeping similar level of security and performance, it thus provides additional security by security service hopping.