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A Framework for Decentralised Trust Reasoning (PhD Thesis, University of London)

A Framework for Decentralised Trust Reasoning (PhD Thesis, University of London)

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Published by Farez Rahman
A Framework for Decentralised Trust Reasoning
by Alfarez Abdul-Rahman
(PhD Thesis, University of London)

Abstract: Recent developments in the pervasiveness and mobility of computer systems in open computer networks have invalidated traditional assumptions about trust in computer communications security. In
a fundamentally decentralised and open network such as the Internet, the responsibility for answering the question of whether one can trust another entity on the network now lies with the individual
agent, and not a priori a decision to be governed by a central authority. Online agents represent users’ digital identities. Thus, we believe that it is reasonable to explore social models of trust for secure agent communication. The thesis of this work is that it is feasible to design and formalise a dynamic model of trust for secure communications based on the properties of social trust. In showing this, we divide this work into two phases. The aim of the first is to understand the properties and dynamics of social trust and its role in computer systems. To this end, a thorough review of trust, and its supporting concept, reputation, in the social sciences was carried out. We
followed this by a rigorous analysis of current trust models, comparing their properties with those
of social trust. We found that current models were designed in an ad-hoc basis, with regards to trust
properties. The aim of the second phase is to build a framework for trust reasoning in distributed systems.
Knowledge from the previous phase is used to design and formally specify, in Z, a computational
trust model. A simple model for the communication of recommendations, the recommendation
protocol, is also outlined to complement the model. Finally an analysis of possible threats to the
model is carried out. Elements of this work have been incorporated into Sun’s JXTA framework and Ericsson Research’s prototype trust model.
A Framework for Decentralised Trust Reasoning
by Alfarez Abdul-Rahman
(PhD Thesis, University of London)

Abstract: Recent developments in the pervasiveness and mobility of computer systems in open computer networks have invalidated traditional assumptions about trust in computer communications security. In
a fundamentally decentralised and open network such as the Internet, the responsibility for answering the question of whether one can trust another entity on the network now lies with the individual
agent, and not a priori a decision to be governed by a central authority. Online agents represent users’ digital identities. Thus, we believe that it is reasonable to explore social models of trust for secure agent communication. The thesis of this work is that it is feasible to design and formalise a dynamic model of trust for secure communications based on the properties of social trust. In showing this, we divide this work into two phases. The aim of the first is to understand the properties and dynamics of social trust and its role in computer systems. To this end, a thorough review of trust, and its supporting concept, reputation, in the social sciences was carried out. We
followed this by a rigorous analysis of current trust models, comparing their properties with those
of social trust. We found that current models were designed in an ad-hoc basis, with regards to trust
properties. The aim of the second phase is to build a framework for trust reasoning in distributed systems.
Knowledge from the previous phase is used to design and formally specify, in Z, a computational
trust model. A simple model for the communication of recommendations, the recommendation
protocol, is also outlined to complement the model. Finally an analysis of possible threats to the
model is carried out. Elements of this work have been incorporated into Sun’s JXTA framework and Ericsson Research’s prototype trust model.

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Published by: Farez Rahman on Oct 15, 2009
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A Framework forDecentralised Trust Reasoning
 Alfarez Abdul-Rahman
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillmentof the requirements for the degree of 
Doctor of Philosophy
of the
University of London
.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity College LondonAugust 5, 2005
 
Abstract
Recent developments in the pervasiveness and mobility of computer systems in open computer net-works have invalidated traditional assumptions about trust in computer communications security. Ina fundamentally decentralised and open network such as the Internet, the responsibility for answer-ing the question of whether one can trust another entity on the network now lies with the individualagent, and not a priori a decision to be governed by a central authority.Online agents represent users’ digital identities. Thus, we believe that it is reasonable to exploresocial models of trust for secure agent communication. The thesis of this work is that it is feasible todesign and formalise a dynamic model of trust for secure communications based on the propertiesof social trust.In showing this, we divide this work into two phases. The aim of the first is to understand theproperties and dynamics of social trust and its role in computer systems. To this end, a thoroughreview of trust, and its supporting concept, reputation, in the social sciences was carried out. Wefollowed this by a rigorous analysis of current trust models, comparing their properties with thoseof social trust. We found that current models were designed in an ad-hoc basis, with regards to trustproperties.The aim of the second phase is to build a framework for trust reasoning in distributed systems.Knowledge from the previous phase is used to design and formally specify, in Z, a computationaltrust model. A simple model for the communication of recommendations, the recommendationprotocol, is also outlined to complement the model. Finally an analysis of possible threats to themodel is carried out.Elements of this work have been incorporated into Sun’s JXTA framework and Ericsson Research’sprototype trust model.
 
Contents
1 Introduction 16
1.1 Why Trust? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161.2 Timeliness of Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181.3 Security and Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201.4 Peer to Peer Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221.5 Intelligent and Autonomous Agents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241.6 Trust as a Social Phenomenon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251.7 Trust in Business and Economics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261.8 Reputation and Recommendation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271.9 Coping with Uncertainties in Interactions and Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271.10 Decentralisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281.11 Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291.12 Summary of Contribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301.13 Publications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301.14 Dissertation Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311.15 Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
2 Trust in the Social Sciences 33
2.1 Denitions of Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352.1.1 Trust and Condence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382.1.2 Trust and Reliance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

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