WAPN: a distributed wormhole attack detection approach for wireless sensor networks As the applications of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) diversify, providing secure communication is emerging as a critical requirement. In this paper, we investigate the detection of wormhole attack, a serious security issue for WSNs. Wormhole attack is difficult to detect and prevent, as it can work without compromising sensor nodes or breaching the encryption key. We present a wormhole attack detection approach based on the probability distribution of the neighboring-node-number, WAPN, which helps the sensor nodes to judge distributively whether a wormhole attack is taking place and whether they are in the influencing area of the attack. WAPN can be easily implemented in resource-constrained WSNs without any additional requirements, such as node localization, tight synchronization, or directional antennas. WAPN uses the neighboring-node-number as the judging criterion, since a wormhole usually results in a significant increase of the neighboring-node-number due to the extra attacking link. Firstly, we model the distribution of the neighboring-node-number in the form of a Bernoulli distribution. Then the model is simplified to meet the sensor nodes’ constraints in computing and memory capacity. Finally, we propose a simple method to obtain the threshold number, which is used to detect the existence of a wormhole. Simulation results show that WAPN is effective under the conditions of different network topologies and wormhole parameters.