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A Secure Multicast Group Management and Key Distribution in IEEE 802.21



Yoshikazu Hanatani, Naoki Ogura, Yoshihiro Ohba, Lidong Chen, Subir Das


Controlling a large number of devices such as sensors and smart end points, is always a challenge where scalability and security are indispensa-ble. This is even more critical when it comes to configuration updates to a large number of such devices when they belong to one or more groups. One solution could be to take a group of devices as a unit of control and then manage them through group communications. An obvious challenge to this approach is how to create such groups dynamically and manage them securely. Moreover, there needs to have mechanisms in place by which members of the group can be re-moved and added dynamically. In this paper, we propose a technique that has been recently standardized in IEEE 802.21 (IEEE 802.21-2015TM) with the ob-jective in providing a standard-based solution to the above issues. The tech-nique uses a Group Key Block (GKB) data that relies on logical key hierarchy based key distribution mechanism and leverages IEEE 802.21 framework, ser-vices, and protocol. It provides a scalable and secure way to manipulate (e.g., add and remove) groups of devices. We describe the group key distribution pro-tocol in details and provide a security analysis of the scheme along with some performance results from a prototype implementation.
Proceedings Title
3rd International Conference on Research in Security Standardisation
Conference Dates
December 5-6, 2016
Conference Location
Gaithersburg, MD, US


Group Communication, group key and management, multicast, Group Key Block (GKB), Subtree, IEEE 802.21


Hanatani, Y. , Ogura, N. , Ohba, Y. , Chen, L. and Das, S. (2016), A Secure Multicast Group Management and Key Distribution in IEEE 802.21, 3rd International Conference on Research in Security Standardisation, Gaithersburg, MD, US, [online],, (Accessed February 27, 2024)
Created December 4, 2016, Updated October 12, 2021