SEAR: A secure efficient ad hoc on demand routing protocol for wireless networks

Qing Li, Meiyuan Zhao, Jesse Walker, Yih Chun Hu, Adrian Perrig, Wade Trappe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multi-hop routing is essential to the operation of wireless ad hoc networks. Unfortunately, it is very easy for an adversary to forge or modify routing messages to inflict severe damage on the underlying routing protocol. In this paper, we present SEAR, a secure efficient ad hoc routing (SEAR) protocol for ad hoc networks that is mainly based on efficient symmetric cryptography, with asymmetric cryptography used only for the distribution of initial key commitments. SEAR uses one-way hash functions to protect the propagation of the routing messages. Intermediate nodes verify the routing messages by applying one-way functions, while malicious nodes cannot construct beneficial false routing messages when forwarding them. Route error (RERR) messages are protected through a variation of the TESLA broadcast authentication scheme. The SEAR protocol does not require any additional routing packet formats, and thus follows the same basic design as ad hoc on-demand distance vector (AODV). We show, through both theoretical examination and simulations, that SEAR provides better security with significantly less overhead than other existing secure AODV (SAODV) protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-340
Number of pages16
JournalSecurity and Communication Networks
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Ad hoc networks
  • Authenticator
  • One-way hash function
  • SEAR
  • Secure routing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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