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Home > Research > Projects > Students > Archives > 2001 

Students' Projects


Security Issues in Mobile Agents

E C Vijil

Abstract



An autonomous mobile agent is an executing program that can migrate from machine to machine in a heterogeneous network under its own control. An agent can either follow a pre-assigned path on the network or determine its itinerary based on the data collected from the network. Facilities for highly dynamic movement of code and data enables a program to take advantage of the locality of data. It also allows one to optimize between the requirements of low bandwidth, high latency and disconnected network connections. This computing paradigm which exploits code, data and state mobility raises many new security issues, which are quite different from conventional client/server systems. Agent servers which provide an execution environment for the agents to execute can be attacked by malicious agents. Similarly agents could be carrying sensitive information about their owners and should be protected from tampering by malicious hosts. Also, the data collected by the agent from one host should be protected from tampering by another host in the itinerary. In this report, we examine the various security issues that arise in mobile agents in general with special reference to data collection agents. We propose an algorithm to identify the malicious host modifying the data in data collection agents. Multiple hosts can collude to remove the data collected by the agent from previous hosts. We give a probabilistic collusion detection algorithm to detect deletion of data by colluding malicious hosts.







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