ECG-RNG: a random number generator based on ECG signals and suitable for securing wireless sensor networks Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2018

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 15


  • 9 (2747)


  • 18

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1424-3210

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1424-8220


  • Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are a promising technology with applications in many areas such as environment monitoring, agriculture, the military field or health-care, to name but a few. Unfortunately, the wireless connectivity of the sensors opens doors to many security threats, and therefore, cryptographic solutions must be included on-board these devices and preferably in their design phase. In this vein, Random Number Generators (RNGs) play a critical role in security solutions such as authentication protocols or key-generation algorithms. In this article is proposed an avant-garde proposal based on the cardiac signal generator we carry with us (our heart), which can be recorded with medical or even low-cost sensors with wireless connectivity. In particular, for the extraction of random bits, a multi-level decomposition has been performed by wavelet analysis. The proposal has been tested with one of the largest and most publicly available datasets of electrocardiogram signals (202 subjects and 24 h of recording time). Regarding the assessment, the proposed True Random Number Generator (TRNG) has been tested with the most demanding batteries of statistical tests (ENT, DIEHARDERand NIST), and this has been completed with a bias, distinctiveness and performance analysis. From the analysis conducted, it can be concluded that the output stream of our proposed TRNG behaves as a random variable and is suitable for securing WSNs.


  • Computer Science


  • wireless sensor networks (wsns); electrocardiogram (ecg) sensor; random number; generators (rngs); wavelet