Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Trust in global computing

13.07.2006
Access to distributed mobile resources by software agents of all types promises much for global computing. But it suffers from the same security and trust problems as the internet itself. Now new tools and protocols could lay the foundations for new and more secure high-level global computing.

But what does 'global computing' actually mean? The term refers to abstractions such as overlay computers, which involves access to distributed mobile resources by software agents that are not tied to a specific geographical or logical network location.

The key challenge for systems designers and programmers in such scenarios is that the software agents have to operate within environments about which they have little information, and where other agents are not necessarily trustworthy.

“Your piece of software, alone and out there in the wild, doesn’t know who to trust and who not!” says Vladimiro Sassone of the University of Southampton, coordinator of the MYTHS project financed under the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) initiative of the IST programme. “That is why closed networks exist. In a global computing environment you do not have the reassurance of a closed network – you are dealing with agents that you cannot trust. That is why security issues are paramount.”

However, if the global market for internet services and applications is to progress, systems designers need to develop adequate security guarantees for agent-based transactions. Specific domains have to be able to limit access to selected agents only. These agents also need to protect themselves and their data from attacks while traversing potentially hostile environments, or executing remotely outside the control of their originating locations. In other words, you need to give your car keys with a guarantee that the car will arrive (eventually) on your doorstep.

MYTHS, which completed in March 2005, sought specifically to develop ‘type’-based theories of security for mobile and distributed systems, as a possible route to solving such problems. “Types are fundamentally important because they express a property of a particular program or piece of code which is unvarying,” says Sassone. “Their other important property is that they can be checked by inspecting the code rather than running the program, which may be too big and complex to run easily.”

Starting with the principle that strong typing underpins truly secure computing applications, the MYTHS team focused on the foundations of programming languages and the paradigms that allow static detection of security violations. The team aimed to develop type-based methods and tools that would allow computing systems and applications to be formally analysed for security weaknesses.

Their results can be divided into three main areas. In resource access-control, in other words how to control access by software agents to specific resources, “We developed complex type systems to control access to certain resources – the type determines that a specific piece of code would never be able to migrate to certain areas of your network,” says Sassone. “For example the code could migrate to online shop one because you trust that outlet, but not to online shop two.”

In crypto-protocol analysis, cryptographic protocols are delicate and vulnerable to attack. Many protocols may actually reveal the content of the code by disclosing the behaviour of the system. Such protocols have in the past not been sufficiently well-designed to resist the more sophisticated forms of attack.

“We designed a tool called PEAR,” says Sassone, “which analyses protocol specifications by assigning types to various messages. The tool enables systems programmers to analyse how secure a protocol is, and to see if it will leak information when under attack.”

In the area of data manipulation, the project team developed a brand-new programming language for the manipulation of XML documents, facilitating the examination and analysis of XML data. The language, CDuce, is an innovative XML-oriented functional language which is type-safe, efficient and offers new methods of working with XML documents. A compiler is also available under an open-source licence.

Sassone emphasises that the work within MYTHS dealt with the foundations, with computational theory, but that it can nevertheless underpin real tools. “Types can be implanted in programming languages, to deliver code that can work out there in the real world.”

The PEAR tool for analysing cryptographic protocols has been further improved since the close of the project, and has been presented at several EU fora. Another key project result, the new CDuce XML programming language, has generated a great deal of interest. So much so that the project researcher specialising in this area is now working full-time on its further development.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Controlling robots with brainwaves and hand gestures
20.06.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL

nachricht Innovative autonomous system for identifying schools of fish
20.06.2018 | IMDEA Networks Institute

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>