Security, and lifetime enhancement are the two key factors in the field of wireless sensor networks. Since the sensor nodes are placed in critical regions and are irreplaceable, it is essential to improve their lifetime through avoiding the energy consumption unnecessarily. Moreover, it is found that the sensor nodes are easily vulnerable due to their random placement. We propose a cross covered multi-layer architecture with an efficient Mc-Nie security algorithm. Moreover, the details of various attacks are also given in this paper. It is found that the proposed approach is performing well when compared to the recent state-of-the-art approaches. We have considered various parameters such as energy consumption, detecting the attacks, attack detection percentage, packet loss, and packet overhead in order to evaluate the performance of the proposed system. The improvement in energy consumption rate is around 81% when compared to the non-cross covered architecture. © 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.