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Collaborative vs. Mobile Agents. A security overview on both infrastructure and ad-hoc networks Carlisle House. Overview. General agent security risks Collaborative agents and their security risks Mobile agents and their security risks Security comparison

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collaborative vs mobile agents

Collaborative vs. Mobile Agents

A security overview on both infrastructure and ad-hoc networks

Carlisle House

  • General agent security risks
  • Collaborative agents and their security risks
  • Mobile agents and their security risks
  • Security comparison
  • Agent behavior in infrastructure and ad-hoc networks
  • Distributed downloading
general agent security risks
General Agent Security Risks
  • Four main security situations
    • Protecting host from agent
    • Protecting agent from other agents
    • Protecting agents from machines
    • Protecting a group of machines from an agent
general agent security risks1
General Agent Security Risks
  • Authentication
  • Communication
  • Code tampering / modification
collaborative agents
Collaborative Agents
  • Emphasize autonomy and cooperation
  • Solve large problems with static distributed computing
  • Allow for interconnecting and interoperation of multiple existing legacy systems.
  • Inter-agent coordination still ongoing issue
security based collaborative agent systems
Security-based collaborative agent systems
  • Agent mechanisms distributed throughout network nodes
  • Usually have centralized agent server
  • Examples:
    • Cherubim
    • Seraphim
collaborative agent security issues
Collaborative agent security issues
  • Authentication upon network entry
  • Encryption for communication system
  • Transfer of rule set and agent code
mobile agents
Mobile Agents
  • Computational software processes capable of roaming networks
  • Also autonomous and cooperative
  • Reduced communication costs and limited resources
  • Easier coordination
  • Can be implemented for dynamic distributed computing
security based mobile agent systems
Security-based mobile agent systems
  • Roaming agents assessing host computer security as well as network health
  • Can have multiple mobile agents within network
  • Examples:
    • MAST
    • Aglets
mobile agent security issues

How often?

Associate and Disassociate issues

Code integrity

Communication issues

Mobile agent security issues
comparison between systems

Communication issues mainly deal with network protection and integrity

Authentication only needed beginning of session


Communication issues deal with code space and OS access

Authentication needed more often

Agents more exposed to a variety of threats

Comparison between systems
agent system behavior
Agent system behavior
  • Looked at infrastructure and ad-hoc wireless network topologies
  • Network simulation implemented using Java
  • Observe system behavior on both systems
    • Performance
    • Security
collaborative system
Collaborative System
  • 64 node systems with centralized server components
  • Modified Cherubim system
  • Components tested
    • Node scanning mechanism (viral and patch)
    • Firewall
    • Communication transfer
      • Dynamic rule sets and patches
mobile system
Mobile system
  • 64 node roaming network system with three agents
    • Firewall
    • Viral scanning
    • Patch management
  • Modified Aglets system
observed infrastructure behavior

Less network strain

System more “up to date”

More tolerant to heterogeneous network system


Higher network utilization

System requires more time for security purposes

Observed infrastructure behavior
ad hoc observation

Requires more complexity

Central-based server system somewhat detrimental


Better performance on ad-hoc network

No need for complete server system

Same amount of network utilization

Ad-Hoc Observation
distributed downloading
Distributed downloading
  • Attempt to improve efficiency
  • Similar to p2p systems
  • Modify both mobile and collaborative viral definition and patch delivery systems
  • Hope to decrease set up time
distributed outcome

Less complex to implement

Performance increase

Infrastrucure – 10%

Ad-hoc – 3%

Setup time

Overall setup time decreased by 12%


More complex

Performance increase

Infrastructure – 5%

Ad-hoc – 4%

Setup time

Overall setup time decreased by 3%

Distributed outcome
  • Collaborative agents have less security risks when compared to mobile agents
  • Collaborative agents better suited for use with infrastructure networks
  • Collaborative agents utilized distributed downloading better than mobile agents
  • Mobile agents perfect for ad-hoc networks
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