Using Ballistocardiography to Perform Key Distribution in Wearable IoT Networks

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Witt, Alexander W
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
key distribution; wearable IoT networks; ballistocardiography; vital signs; physiological signals; symmetric cryptography; wireless communication channel security
artifact description
A WIoT is a wireless network of low-power sensing nodes placed on the human body. While operating, these networks routinely collect physiological signals to send to offsite medical professionals for review. In this manner, these networks support a concept known as pervasive healthcare in which patients can be continuously monitored and treated remotely. Given that these networks are used to guide medical treatment and depend on transmitting sensitive data, it is important to ensure that the communication channel remains secure. Symmetric pairwise cryptography is a traditional scheme that can be used to provide such security. The scheme functions by sharing a cryptographic key between a pair of sensors. Once shared, the key can then be used by both parties to encrypt and decrypt all future messages. To configure a WIoT to support the use of symmetric pairwise cryptography a key distribution protocol is required. Schemes for pre-deployment are often used to perform this distribution. These schemes usually require inserting key information into WIoT devices before they can be used in the network. Unfortunately, this need to manually configure WIoT devices can decrease their usability. In this thesis we propose and evaluate an alternative approach to key distribution that uses physiological signals derived from accelerometer and gyroscope sensors. The evaluation of our approach indicates that more study is required to determine techniques that will enable ballistocardiography-derived physiological signals to provide secure key distribution.