Is anyone aware of a routing protocols for Ad Hoc Networks (such as OLSR, AODV, ZRP) which are secure without relying on pre-established key management? What I mean by secure is, preventing data modification in some way such that the routing information will be correct. This would then prevent black-hole attacks and such.

I am looking into key management schemes for an ad hoc network, but am unsure if I can assume an underlying secure routing protocol.

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    What do you mean by "secure"? Do you mean people can't join the adhoc network without authorization? Do you mean data confidentiality? Please clarify what your need is, we may be able to give better suggestions.
    – Daisetsu
    Oct 19, 2018 at 17:46
  • With "secure routing protocol" I meant protocols which don't rely on an established key management scheme to provide nodes with correct routing information (resistant against data modification). I changed my question to be more specific.
    – Mark R
    Oct 22, 2018 at 8:45
  • I'm not aware of any way to secure an adhoc network without relying on crypto. Even if you distribute a secret before hand to all the adhoc nodes, securely proving the secret to each other is based in crypto.
    – Daisetsu
    Oct 22, 2018 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


In general, no ad hoc network is actually secure unless it is encrypted because whatever method you would use to validate into it would be transmitted in a readable, and therefore, reproducible way. For example, if the protocol said you have to send me your MAC or IP address so I can make sure you are on the white list, then an attacker could sniff packets to find what identifying factors are being sent, then just pretend to be that guy. If you use a username and password, then that will also be transmitted, unencrypted, and be able to be reused.

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