• RC4;
  • security protocol;
  • backward property of RC4 states;
  • resource constrained devices


In this paper we present a lightweight but robust security protocol based on the forward and backward property of RC4 stream cipher. The proposed protocol offers data confidentiality, data authentication, data integrity, and data freshness with less operation and low overhead. Also, it allows data packets to be received in any arbitrary order and achieves semantic security. Furthermore, it eliminates the requirement of frequent key renewal to overcome a special limitation of the stream ciphers. Due to the competitive efficiency and lightweight, the proposed protocol is considerable to provide secure data transmission among resource constrained devices, where the communication nodes have limited power resources and computational capabilities. This protocol not only applies to one-to-one communications, but also works for the broadcasting and multicasting. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.