Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Computer Science and Software Engineering


The last two decades have seen phenomenal growth in the use of wireless devices. A class of these devices that operates in an Ad hoc manner is capable of self-organising and self-configuration without the help of any predefined network infrastructure and are able to extend their communication range with the help of their neighbours. These types of networks are commonly referred to as Mobile Ad hoc Networks or MANETs for short.

Given the distributed nature of a MANET and the need to share routing and other information, securing a MANET against intrusion is a challenging task. Security of MANETs is an active research area with many threats like jamming, eaves- dropping, rushing, packet dropping, data corruption and session hijacking etc.

Routing, or the act of discovering and forwarding packets between nodes is critical in MANETs. Securing routing protocols is very important as this is a weak point where intruders can target the wireless devices that form the MANET. Adversaries or hackers have many reasons and means by which to target MANET devices. One of which is to disrupt communication in MANETs, the other is to reroute information through other devices for copying/modifying/listening to data traffic.

This thesis addresses the security threat of a wormhole attack. A wormhole attack takes place when a malicious device is able to join a MANET and insert itself into the address of legitimate devices and be seen as the shortest path to other legitimate devices in the network. Hence, the next effect being that this malicious device is always chosen to route information to these devices. Once this is achieved, the malicious device could listen/modify/copy or simply disrupt normal routing operations in the network.