Hidden anchor: A lightweight approach for physical layer location privacy

Youssef M.
El-Badry R.
Sultan A.

In hybrid wireless sensor networks, where trusted and un-trusted nodes coexist, it becomes important to allow trusted nodes to share information, especially, location information and prevent un-trusted nodes from gaining access to this information. We focus on anchor-based localization algorithms in WSNs, where a small set of specialized nodes, that is, anchor nodes, broadcast their location to the network and other nodes can use the broadcast information to estimate their own location. The main challenge is that both trusted and un-trusted nodes can measure the physical signal transmitted from anchor nodes and use it to estimate their locations. In this paper, we propose Hidden Anchor, an algorithm that provides anchor physical layer location privacy for different classes of localization algorithms. The Hidden Anchor algorithm exploits the inherently noisy wireless channel and uses identity cloning of neighboring trusted nodes to make anchors unobservable to un-trusted nodes while providing complete information to trusted nodes. Evaluation of the Hidden Anchor algorithm through analysis and simulation shows that it can hide the identity, and hence the location, of anchor nodes with very low overhead. In addition, the results show that by adding artificial noise, we can achieve significant improvement in anchors location privacy. Copyright © 2010 Rania El-Badry et al.