Trust me, I'm a machine

Apr 05, 2005

An EU computer science project hopes to make the uncertainty attached to the pervasive computing future a lot more secure through establishing trust.
Using the cost-benefit function at the heart of risk analysis, the IST programme-funded SECURE project developed software to integrate the very subjective, human concept of trust into computers, PDAs, mobile 'phones and other network devices.

Pervasive computing is a steadily emerging reality. Mobile phones and PDAs are becoming powerful computers in their own right, cars now routinely include telematics, which allows them to know where they are, for example. Now vending machines that accept payment from your mobile phone or PDA are in deployment. All of these devices will periodically connect to the network to perform transactions, whether it's information, services or purchases.

But as the network spreads and the devices that can access it multipy it is very difficult to maintain security. How do you know the person, or the machine, will not steal your personal information or that they will supply the goods, services or information you purchase?

"We've developed software that allows judgement based on establishing a value of trust and balancing that against the risk of abuse. We've mostly work on developing a system to stop spam, so the software would ask establish if the email is trustworthy. We also looked at using the service for an e-purse, an electronic purse for small transactions," says Vinny Cahill, coordinator of the SECURE project at Trinity College, Dublin.

The concept works like this: your PDA or mobile phone receives a query about your current location. First it establishes the identity of the request. Then your PDA or e-purse asks its trust calculator how trustworthy you are. The calculator bases this on previous experiences. If this is the first time, it will base it on your reputation or rating with others or, in the SECURE system, it can even delegate authority to another party.

Meanwhile the risk evaluator is calculating the cost of the transaction if your trust is abused. If the trust is greater than the risk, you PDA reveals your location. If it is unsure, it asks the user. This could be very helpful if you're near a store that's offering a discount on something you need.

The group says their software scheme can even work offline, the based on experience in similar situations.

SECURE developed their software in Java, which means it can work on almost any device.The project finished in December 2004, when it completed development of a software framework that can incoporated to various applications.

"Trust is emerging as a viable method for creating and using ad hoc networks and we'd like to take it further, but it will be another two or three years before it could be deployed in a commercial application," says Prof. Cahill.

Source: IST Results

Explore further: Apple's growing patent portfolio offers clues about future products

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Web outage hardly stirs Internet-free N. Korea: experts

Dec 24, 2014

North Korea's Internet went down this week after an apparent attack but most of its citizens will not have noticed the difference in a country that does its level best to seal off foreign influence, experts say.

Feds say Web privacy firm deceived consumers (Update)

Nov 17, 2014

Federal regulators said a respected Internet privacy company gave its seal of approval to commercial websites and mobile apps but failed to check whether they were indeed meeting standards for safeguarding customers' data.

What's causing the recent string of data breaches?

Oct 30, 2014

It's Cyber Security Awareness month, which has me wondering: are we doing all we can to protect our data? To help answer this question, I sat down with Girish Bhat of Wave Systems—an important collaborator of Micron's—to ...

Recommended for you

Airbnb to expand tax collection efforts

6 hours ago

Online lodging operator Airbnb is expanding its efforts to collect local taxes, responding to complaints that it competes unfairly with the hotel sector.

Jay Z to acquire Wimp music service

8 hours ago

US rap star Jay Z will make a $56-million foray into the music streaming business by taking over the Norwegian service Wimp, its shareholders confirmed Friday.

Scientists trial system to improve safety at sea

8 hours ago

A space scientist at the University of Leicester, in collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Technology Agency and DMC International Imaging, has been trialling a concept for using satellite imagery to ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.