Secure group communication in an ad hoc network is a largely unexplored research area. Currently available key exchange protocols were not designed to be implemented in an ad hoc network where nodes sporadically enter and leave the group. This project explores establishing secure group communication in an ad hoc network through public key infrastructure. Public key infrastructure (PKI) provides a framework for establishing and authenticating secure communication between users. A trusted certificate authority (CA) generates an identifying token, or certificate, for an authorized user. The certificate contains the user's public key and other identifying information and is digitally signed by the CA to prevent forging. This public key may then be used to initiate secure communication with the user. This project uses the tuple space distributed computing paradigm for all ad hoc group communication. A tuple space is a store of tuples, or lists of objects, from which consumers may read tuples matching filter criteria and to which producers may post new tuples. An easily made physical analogy to this concept is that of an announcement board, where people may read flyers and post new ones. Professor Alan Kaminsky's TupleBoard API is an implementation of tuple space designed for developing ad hoc distributed applications in Java. This project extends this library by adding a public key framework enabling dynamic group key exchange, public key encryption and digital signatures. To showcase the newly added security features an ad hoc music distribution application was developed in which all communication is encrypted and authenticated and users may only share or download songs authorized by certificates in their possession. Finally, a performance analysis was done to evaluate the impact of the new security features.
Department, Program, or Center
Computer Science (GCCIS)
Kaminsky, Alan - Chair
Morse, Kyle, "Securing tuple space: secure ad hoc group communication using PKI" (2007). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus