Dish: DIstributed SHuffling against Selective Jamming Attack in IEEE 802.15.4e TSCH Networks


The MAC standard amendment IEEE 802.15.4e is designed to meet the requirements of industrial and critical applications. In particular, the Time Slotted Channel Hopping (TSCH) mode divides time into periodic, equally sized, slotframes composed of transmission timeslots. Then, it combines time slotted access with multichannel and channel hopping capabilities, providing large network capacity, high reliability, and predictable latency while ensuring energy efficiency. Since every network node considers the same timeslots at each slotframe and selects physical channels according to a periodic function, TSCH produces a steady channel utilization pattern. This can be exploited by a selective jammer to entirely thwart communications of a victim node in a way that is stealthy, effective, and extremely energy efficient. This article shows how a selective jamming attack can be successfully performed even though TSCH uses the IEEE 802.15.4e security services. Furthermore, we propose DISH, a countermeasure which randomly permutes the timeslot and channel utilization patterns at every slotframe in a consistent and completely distributed way without requiring any additional message exchange. We have implemented DISH for the Contiki OS and tested its effectiveness on TelosB sensor nodes. Quantitative analysis for different network configurations shows that DISH effectively contrasts selective jamming with negligible performance penalty.


Computer Science

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Second Research Center/Lab

Center for High Performance Computing Research


This project has been funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 607109. This work has also been supported by the NSF grants CNS-1545037, DGE-1433659, CNS-154050, and NeTS-1818942, the EIT Digital High Impact Initiative project ACTIVE, the PRIN project TENACE (n. 20103P34XC) funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, and the University of Pisa (PRA 2015 program).

Keywords and Phrases

Denial-of-service attack; Energy efficiency; Jamming; Sensor nodes; Denial of Service; IEEE 802.15.4e; Secure schedule permutation; Security; TSCH; IEEE Standards; Selective jamming

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1550-4859; 1550-4867

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2018