Selected Problems On Mobile AgentCommunication
Adekunle, Yinka A.
and Sola S. Maitanmi
Department of Computer Science & Mathematics, Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria
Abstract - Mobile agent technology offers a new computing paradigm in which a program, in the form of a software agent, can transfer its execution from agent to agent masquerading itself as the original source of message. The use of mobile code has a long history dating back to the use of remote job entry systems in the1960's. Today's agent incarnations can be characterized in a number of ways ranging from simple distributed objects to highly secured software with algorithm that can only be interpreted by only the sender and the receiver. As the sophistication of mobile software has increased over time, so too have the associated threats to security. This paper studies masquerading as one of these threats and provide appropriate solution in form of algorithm.
: Mobile agent, masquerading, encryption and decryption.
1 IntroductionA mobile agent is a program which can migrate from onemachine to another, performing useful action, under its owncontrol. It has been the subject of much attention in the lastfew years due to its advantage in accessing distributedresumes in a low-bandwidth network. One of the instanceswhere a mobile agent can be very effective is in a client/server model. In a client/server model, a client may need access to ahuge database on a server. This requires a large amount of data transmission over the network and may significantlywaste bandwidth if the data transferred is not useful at theclient side.In addition, one definition term `agent' means thoserelatively simple, client-based software applications that canassist users in performing regular tasks such as sorting e-mailsor downloading Web pages from the Web, etc . This classof agents is often referred to as `personal assistant' agents. Atthe other end of the scale is the concept of sophisticatedsoftware entities possessing artificial intelligence thatautonomously travel through a network environment andmake complex decisions on the user's behalf. Our definitiontherefore is the following: a mobile agent is a program thatacts on behalf of a user or another program and is able tomigrate from host to host on a network under its own control.The agent chooses when and to where it will migrate and mayinterrupt
its own execution and continue elsewhere on thenetwork. The agent returns results and messages in anasynchronous fashion Alternatively, the agent may send itself to another intermediate node and take its partial results with it. Resultsare delivered back to the user whose address the agent knows.Today the most common way of implementing distributedapplications is through the client-server paradigm. In thismodel, an operation is split into two parts across a network,with the client making requests from a user machine to aserver which services the requests on a large, centralizedsystem. A protocol is agreed upon and both the client andserver are programmed to implement it. A network connectionis established between them and the protocol is carried out.However the client-server paradigm breaks down under situations dealing with highly distributed problems, slowand/or poor quality network connections, and especially in themaintenance of constantly changing applications. In a systemwith a single central server and numerous clients, there is a problem of scalability. When multiple servers becomeinvolved, the scaling problems multiply rapidly, as each clientmust manage and maintain connections with multiple servers.The use of two-tier systems or proxies only moves this problem to the network. It does not eliminate the basic problem. With client- server technology there comes a needfor good quality network connections. First, the client needs toconnect reliably to its server because only by setting up andmaintaining the connection may it be authenticated and besecure. Second, the client needs to be assured of a correctresponse, since a server can crash anytime between processingthe request and sending back the reply.Third, it needs good bandwidth since, due to its verynature; client/server must copy data across the network.Finally, the protocol which a client and a server agree upon is by its very nature specialized and static 2
Problems of Mobile Agents
Three problems were identified: problems stemming froman agent attacking an agent platform, an agent platformattacking an agent, an agent attacking another agent on theagent platform, and other entities attacking the agent system.The last category covers the cases of an agent attacking anagent on another agent platform, and of an agent platformattacking another platform, since these attacks are primarilyfocused on the communications capability of the platform toexploit potential vulnerabilities.
When an unauthorized agent claims the identity of another agent it is said to be masquerading. The masquerading
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 9, No. 6, June 2011235http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500