University of Hertfordshire

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A Survey of Access Control Models in Wireless Sensor Networks

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-180
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Sensors and Actuator Networks
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2014


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.


Copyright 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (

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