Fourth European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 96)
Security for Mobile Agents: Authentification and State Appraisal
Willian M. Farmer, Joshua D. Guttman, Vipin Swarup
Abstract : Mobile agents are processes which can autonomously migrate to new hosts. Despite its many practical benefits, mobile agent technology results in significant new security threats from malicious agents and hosts. The primary added complication is that, as an agent traverses multiple hosts that are trusted to different degrees, its state can change in ways that adversely impact its functionality. In this paper, we discuss achievable security goals for mobile agents, and we propose an architecture to achieve these goals. The architecture models the trust relations between the principals of mobile agent systems. A unique aspect of the architecture is a "state appraisal" mechanism that protects users and hosts from attacks via state modifications and that provides users with flexible control over the authority of their agents.
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