Security protocols and a trust model for mobile agent systems

  • Dina Shehada

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Mobile agents (MAs) are an important element in the creation of efficient distributedapplications in many fields. The motivation behind interest in MAs is derivedfrom the various advantages they offer such as, autonomous behavior, mobility andintelligence. Moreover, their small size and their requirement of a low bandwidth areanother attractive features. However, the flexibility and openness of MAs pave theway for many security vulnerabilities and attacks.The work in the thesis proposes two security protocols and a trust model for MobileAgent Systems (MASs). The proposed security protocols are, a multi-hop basedSecure Mobile Agent Protocol (SMAP) and a BROadcast based Secure Mobile AgentProtocol (BROSMAP). The two protocols provide security and protection for MASsfrom various security threats. Both protocols provide mutual authentication betweenusers and service providers, integrity, confidentiality, accountability, authorization andnon repudiation. Unlike other MA security protocols, SMAP and BROSMAP provideprotection from Man In The Middle (MITM), replay, masquerade, unauthorized accessand modification attacks. SMAP and BROSMAP have the ability to continue systemfunctionality even if some of the agents are killed. Formal verification proofs were carried out to prove the soundness of SMAP andBROSMAP in supporting the desired security properties under the specified attackmodels. Performance analysis was also carried out for SMAP and BROSMAP to studytheir complexity compared to related protocols in the literature. Results proved theviability of the proposed protocol in providing protection for the application whilestaying lean to guarantee performance.The thesis also proposes a new dynamic trust model for MASs. The proposed trustmodel provides users with the means to assess service providers and base a decisionon who to interact with. The model combines direct and witnesses experience evaluations.It also assesses the honesty of witnesses to filter false evaluations. Moreover,"Incentive and Penalty" and "Second Chance" approaches are incorporated to motivatean honest behavior and accommodate dynamic changes. An implementation of a LocationBased Service (LBS) distributed application that incorporates BROSMAP tosecure its communication was carried out with Java Agent Development Environment(JADE). The results verified the feasibility of the proposed security protocol.
Date of Award2015
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorMohamed Zemerly (Supervisor)


  • Mobile agent systems
  • Security
  • Agents
  • Mobile agents
  • distributed applications
  • Trust
  • Reputation.

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