Recent work in multicast routing for wireless mesh networks has focused on metrics that estimate link quality to maximize throughput. Nodes must collaborate in order to compute the path metric and forward data. The assumption that all nodes are honest and behave correctly during metric computation, propagation, and aggregation, as well as during data forwarding, leads to unexpected consequences in adversarial networks where compromised nodes act maliciously. In this work, we identify novel attacks against high-throughput multicast protocols in wireless mesh networks. The attacks exploit the local estimation and global aggregation of the metric to allow attackers to attract a large amount of traffic. We show that these attacks are very effective against multicast protocols based on high-throughput metrics. We conclude that aggressive path selection is a double-edged sword: While it maximizes throughput, it also increases attack effectiveness in the absence of defense mechanisms. Our approach to defend against the identified attacks combines measurement-based detection and accusation-based reaction techniques. The solution accommodates transient network variations and is resilient against attempts to exploit the defense mechanism itself. A detailed security analysis of our defense scheme establishes bounds on the impact of attacks. We demonstrate both the attacks and our defense using ODMRP, a representative multicast protocol for wireless mesh networks, and SPP, an adaptation of the well-known ETX unicast metric to the multicast setting.
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