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Mitigation Mechanisms Against the DAO Attack on the Routing Protocol for Low Power and Lossy Networks (RPL)

Wadhaj, Isam; Ghaleb, Baraq; Thomson, Craig; Al-Dubai, Ahmed; Buchanen, Bill



Destination Advertisement Objects (DAOs) are sent upward by RPL nodes toward the DODAG root, to build the downward routing paths carrying traffic from the root to its associated nodes. This routing mechanism can be exploited by a malicious node periodically transmitting a large volume of DAO messages towards its parent, which in turn will forward such messages to its own parent and so on, until they arrive at the Direction-Oriented Directed Acyclic Graph (DODAG) root. This ultimately results in a negative effect on network performance in terms of energy consumption, latency and reliability. The first objective of this paper is to evaluate the effect of such a DAO attack in the context of an RPL IoT network. In particular, identifying the particular performance metrics and network resources affected most greatly. The second objective is the proposal of mitigating security mechanisms in relation to DAO attacks and to evaluate their effectiveness. The simulation results have shown how the attack can damage the network performance by significantly increasing the DAO overhead and power consumption. It also demonstrated that the DAO attack affect the reliability of the downward traffic under specific conditions. The proposed mechanisms showed a good capacity in restoring the optimal performance of the network by up to 205%, 181%, 87% and 6%, in terms of overhead, latency, power consumption and packet delivery ratio respectively.


Wadhaj, I., Ghaleb, B., Thomson, C., Al-Dubai, A., & Buchanen, B. (2020). Mitigation Mechanisms Against the DAO Attack on the Routing Protocol for Low Power and Lossy Networks (RPL). IEEE Access, 8, 43665-43675.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 21, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 2, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Mar 3, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 24, 2020
Journal IEEE Access
Electronic ISSN 2169-3536
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Pages 43665-43675
Keywords Internet of Things, Low Power and Lossy Networks, Security in RPL, DAO attack
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