In vehicular ad-hoc networks (VANETs), vehicles perform a handover procedure in order to connect to the next RSU. In general, the handover procedure comprises two stages, namely searching for an appropriate road side unit (RSU) to connect to and performing an authentication procedure with the selected RSU. Since the vehicles in a VANET typically have a high mobility, frequent handover operations are required, and thus the transmission delay is inevitably increased. Accordingly, this paper proposes an authentication method designated as LIAP (Lightweight Identity Authentication Protocol) to reduce the handover authentication delay. LIAP employs a DSSP (Dynamic Session Secret Process) method to improve the speed and computational efficiency of the authentication process whilst simultaneously concealing the sensitive information of the vehicle. The security analysis results and performance evaluations show that LIAP not only provides an efficient and confidential authentication capability, but also preserves the robustness of the VANET toward malicious attacks.
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