A Survey of Access Control Models in Wireless Sensor Networks

Htoo Aung Maw, Hannan Xiao, B. Christianson, James Malcolm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
228 Downloads (Pure)


Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have attracted considerable interest in the research community, because of their wide range of applications. However, due to the distributed nature of WSNs and their deployment in remote areas, these networks are vulnerable to numerous security threats that can adversely affect their proper functioning. Resource constraints in sensor nodes mean that security mechanisms with a large overhead of computation and communication are impractical to use in WSNs; security in sensor networks is, therefore, a challenge. Access control is a critical security service that offers the appropriate access privileges to legitimate users and prevents illegitimate users from unauthorized access. However, access control has not received much attention in the context of WSNs. This paper provides an overview of security threats and attacks, outlines the security requirements and presents a state-of-the-art survey on access control models, including a comparison and evaluation based on their characteristics in WSNs. Potential challenging issues for access control schemes in WSNs are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-180
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Sensors and Actuator Networks
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2014


  • wireless sensor networks
  • access control schemes
  • security mechanisms;
  • security vulnerabilities


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