Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A study of privacy-preserving mechanisms for wireless multimedia sensor networks in healthcare
Author: Saleh, Yasmine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 4192
Awarding Body: Staffordshire University
Current Institution: Staffordshire University
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Although the importance of privacy is well-acknowledged for sensitive data, a significant research effort is still needed to develop robust privacy protection solutions for Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) used in the context of healthcare. The focus of this doctoral research is to investigate privacy-preserving mechanisms for Wireless Multimedia Sensor Networks (WMSNs) for use in healthcare, to ensure privacy-aware transmission (from sensors to the base station) of multimedia data captured for healthcare. Towards achieving the goal stated above, the following research questions are addressed in this thesis: (i) What are the significant privacy threats in a WMSN used in the healthcare domain? (ii) What countermeasures can be deployed to stop privacy attacks that realize these threats? (iii) What is the impact, on the WMSN, of the deployment of the privacy countermeasures, with regards to the enhancement of privacy and to the associated computation, communication and storage overheads? A threat analysis, conducted in the research reported herein, revealed that linkability, identifiability and location disclosure are significant privacy threats for WMSNs in healthcare. Consequently, privacy countermeasures and the corresponding mechanisms to achieve unlinkability, anonymity / pseudonymity and location privacy are required in a privacy-aware WMSN for healthcare. The AntSensNet routing protocol (Cobo et al., 2010) for WMSNs was adapted in the work reported in this thesis, by adding to it privacy-preserving mechanisms, towards achieving unlinkability, anonymity / pseudonymity and location privacy. The standard AntSensNet routing protocol is vulnerable to privacy threats. Consequently, the following countermeasures were investigated in this thesis: (i) size correlation and encryption of scalar and multimedia data transmitted through a WMSN, and size correlation and encryption of ants, to achieve unlinkability and location privacy; (ii) fake traffic injection, to achieve anonymity, source location and base station location privacy, as well as unlinkability; (iii) pseudonyms, to achieve unlinkability. To assess the impact of the introduction of the above privacy countermeasures, a quantitative performance analysis was conducted (using the NS2 simulator and a theoretical analysis) to gauge the computation overhead (number of extra operations), communication overhead (number of extra network messages) and storage overhead (number of extra encryption keys) of the privacy countermeasures which were added to the AntSensNet protocol deployed within a WMSN. The performance analysis results show that the messages and memory overheads due to the added privacy countermeasures increase mostly linearly with the number of scalar and multimedia sensors, and the resulting traffic, increases in the network. iii Furthermore, a WMSN (with sensors having specifications similar to healthcare sensors, but not deploying the privacy-aware AntSensNet protocol) was simulated using the NS2 simulator, to study the effect of the introduction of fake traffic, towards achieving unlinkability, anonymity and location privacy. Entropy and anonymity set size were adopted to quantify the change in the level of privacy (anonymity, unlinkability and location privacy) as the number of fake sources and the volume of fake traffic increase. The results show that the level of privacy enhancement increases with the number of fake sources and volume of fake traffic, but at the expense of an increased delay in the data delivery and an increased level of multimedia jitter (as a result of the consumption of the available bandwidth by fake traffic). This delay and jitter might not be acceptable in critical situations where rapid medical action is required, such as for a patient who has suffered a stroke or a patient (remotely monitored by cameras) who has fallen and broken a bone. The novel contributions to knowledge which have arisen from this doctoral research are: (i) the elicitation of privacy threats, through a threat analysis methodology named LINDDUN (Wuyts et al., 2014) ─ applied to WMSNs for healthcare ─ to identify significant threats and hence the privacy enhancement mechanisms required by a privacy-aware WMSN; (ii) the enhancement of the AntSensNet routing protocol for WMSNs, to make it privacy-aware; (iii) the findings from the assessment of the privacy-awareness resulting from the deployed privacy-enhancing countermeasures and findings from the assessment of their associated computation, communication and storage overheads.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available