LoRa-LiSK: A Lightweight Shared Secret Key Generation Scheme for LoRa Networks

Aisha Kanwal Junejo, Fatma Benkhelifa, Boon Wong, Julie McCann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
139 Downloads (Pure)


Physical-layer security (PLS) schemes use the randomness of the channel parameters, namely, channel state information (CSI) and received signal strength indicator (RSSI) to generate the secret keys. There has been limited work in PLS schemes in long-range (LoRa) wide-area networks (LoRaWANs) which hinder their widespread application. Limitations observed in existing studies include the requirement of high correlation between channel parameter measurements for secret key generation in the proposed schemes and the evaluation of the schemes has only been done in either fully indoor or outdoor environments. The real-world wireless sensor networks (WSNs) and LoRa use cases might not meet both requirements thus making the current PLS schemes inappropriate for these systems. By considering the limitations found in existing PLS schemes, this article proposes LoRA-LiSK, a practical and efficient shared secret key generation scheme for LoRa networks. Our proposed LoRa-LiSK scheme consists of several preprocessing techniques (timestamp matching, two sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests, and a Savitzky-Golay filter), multilevel quantization, information reconciliation using Bose-Chaudhuri-Hocquenghem (BCH) codes, and finally, privacy amplification using secure hash algorithm SHA-2. The LoRa-LiSK scheme is extensively evaluated on real WSN/IoT devices in practical application scenarios: 1) indoor to outdoor and 2) LoRa static and mobile outdoor links. It outperforms existing schemes by generating keys with channel parameter measurements of low correlation values (0.2-0.6), while still essentially achieving high key generation rates, and low key disagreement rates (10%-20%). The scheme updates a key in approximately 1 h using an application profile with high transmission rate compared to 3 h reported by existing works while still respecting the duty cycle regulation. It also incurs less communication overhead compared to the existing works.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4110-4124
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

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  • Key generation
  • long-range wide-area network (LoRaWAN)
  • low-power wide-area network (LPWAN)
  • security
  • wireless sensor networks (WSNs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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