Protecting agents against malicious host attacks
The introduction of agent technology raises several security issues that are beyond conventional security mechanisms capability and considerations, but research in protecting the agent from malicious host attack is evolving. This research proposes two approaches to protecting an agent from being attacked by a malicious host. The first approach consists of an obfuscation algorithm that is able to protect the confidentiality of an agent and make it more difficult for a malicious host to spy on the agent. The algorithm uses multiple polynomial functions with multiple random inputs to convert an agent's critical data to a value that is meaningless to the malicious host. The effectiveness of the obfuscation algorithm is enhanced by addition of noise code. The second approach consists of a mechanism that is able to protect the integrity of the agent using state information, recorded during the agent execution process in a remote host environment, to detect a manipulation attack by a malicious host. Both approaches are implemented using a master-slave agent architecture that operates on a distributed migration pattern. Two sets of experimental test were conducted. The first set of experiments measures the migration and migration+computation overheads of the itinerary and distributed migration patterns. The second set of experiments is used to measure the security overhead of the proposed approaches. The protection of the agent is assessed by analysis of its effectiveness under known attacks. Finally, an agent-based application, known as Secure Flight Finder Agent-based System (SecureFAS) is developed, in order to prove the function of the proposed approaches.