Power Control Identification: A Novel Sybil Attack Detection Scheme in VANETs Using RSSI

Yuan Yao, Bin Xiao, Gang Yang, Yujiao Hu, Liang Wang, Xingshe Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs) have far-reaching application potentials in the intelligent transportation system (ITS) such as traffic management, accident avoidance and in-car infotainment. However, security has always been a challenge to VANETs, which may cause severe harm to the ITS. Sybil attack is considered as a serious security threat to VANETs since the adversary can disseminate false messages with multiple forged identities to attack various applications in the ITS. RSSI-based Sybil nodes detection is an efficient scheme against Sybil attacks, which adopts position estimation, distribution verification or similarity comparison to identify Sybil nodes. However, when Sybil nodes conduct power control to deliberately change transmission powers, the received RSSI values would change correspondingly, which leads to inaccurate localization or different RSSI time series of these Sybil nodes. Thus, it is very difficult to differentiate Sybil nodes from normal nodes via conventional RSSI-based methods. This paper first discusses potential power control models (PCMs) for launching Sybil attacks in VANETs, then presents two simple Sybil attack models and three sophisticated Sybil attack ones with or without power control in detail, finally proposes a power control identification Sybil attack detection (PCISAD) scheme to find anomalous variations in RSSI time series, which are then used to identify Sybil nodes via a linear SVM classifier. Extensive simulations and real-world experiments prove that the proposed scheme can effectively deal with Sybil attacks with power control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8793190
Pages (from-to)2588-2602
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • changepoints detection
  • power control
  • support vector machine
  • Sybil attack
  • vehicular ad hoc networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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