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Multicast DIS attack mitigation in RPL-based IoT-LLNs

Medjek, Faiza; Tandjaoui, Djamel; Djedjig, Nabil; Romdhani, Imed


Faiza Medjek

Djamel Tandjaoui

Nabil Djedjig


The IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks (RPL) was standardised by the IETF ROLL Working Group to address the routing issues in the Internet of Things (IoT) Low-Power and Lossy Networks (LLNs). RPL builds and maintains a Destination Oriented Directed Acyclic Graph (DODAG) topology using pieces of information propagated within the DODAG Information Object (DIO) control message. When a node intends to join the DODAG, it either waits for DIO or sends a DODAG Information Solicitation (DIS) control message Multicast to solicit DIOs from nearby nodes. Nevertheless, sending Multicast DIS messages resets the timer that regulates the transmission rate of DIOs to its minimum value, which leads to the network’s congestion with control messages. Because of the resource-constrained nature of RPL-LLNs, the lack of tamper resistance, and the security gaps of RPL, malicious nodes can exploit the Multicast DIS solicitation mechanism to trigger an RPL-specification-based attack, named DIS attack. The DIS attack can have severe consequences on RPL networks, especially on control packets overhead and power consumption. In this paper, we use the Cooja–Contiki simulator to assess the DIS attack’s effects on both static and dynamic PRL networks. Besides, we propose and implement a novel approach, namely RPL-MRC, to improve the RPL’s resilience against DIS Multicast. RPL-MRC aims to reduce the response to DIS Multicast messages. Simulation results demonstrate how the attack could damage the network performance by significantly increasing the control packets overhead and power consumption. On the other hand, the RPL-MRC proposed mechanism shows a significant enhancement in reducing the control overhead and power consumption for different scenarios.


Medjek, F., Tandjaoui, D., Djedjig, N., & Romdhani, I. (2021). Multicast DIS attack mitigation in RPL-based IoT-LLNs. Journal of Information Security and Applications, 61, Article 102939.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 9, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 27, 2021
Publication Date 2021-09
Deposit Date Aug 13, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 28, 2022
Journal Journal of Information Security and Applications
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 61
Article Number 102939
Keywords RPL, RPL security, Internet of Things, DIS attack, Routing attacks, Low Power and Lossy Networks
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