S.Ta.M.In.A abstract

STAMINA seeks to develop tools, techniques, algorithms, protocols and other technology that allow secure, effective utilization of mobile tactical communication technology on the battlefield. The approach used will extend current research by the PI and his colleagues on developing tools and techniques to secure mobile agents for network applications. This is based on designing cryptographic mechanisms (such as, undeniable multi-signatures) that can be attached to mobile codes in such a way that,

(a) these cannot be later detached by the enemy and,
(b) the modified code cannot be tampered or controlled by the enemy in any way, other than destroyed.

These mechanisms will not degrade the flexibility or efficiency of the agent and do not increase the network bandwidth costs in any significant way.

The objective of STAMINA is therefore to exploit the potential of mobile agents while mitigating possible risks. The research plan is centred on tactical mobile networks and their security and involves four main tasks:

1. Secure tactical mobile networks by using mobile code technology.
2. Secure location-dependent queries in tactical mobile networks.
3. Secure remote system update by using mobile code technology.
4. Secure access control by using mobile code technology.

These tasks are closely interlinked, have common aspects and are part of the same objective. From a theoretical point of view, cryptography can be used to solve these tasks. However what is needed is to find scalable solutions and to understand the complex relationships associated with the practical details. At present the main critical barrier preventing the use of mobile agents in the battlefield is their anonymity. There is no way to distinguish a corrupted agent from an uncorrupted one. A digital signature on the code segment of an agent would not be sufficient because it would not authenticate the state of the agent which changes with each execution of the agent. Even if we were to use multi-signatures with message flexibility (each signer signs a slightly modified message), there would still be the problem of certification. Public Key Infrastructures (PKIs) are in there infancy, and are basically designed for e-commerce applications. They do not deal with the complex trust-level relationships on the battlefield scenario.

The research effort will spread over 24 months. The first 12 months will focus on Task 1, and those elements of the other tasks that are needed to support this task. The second 12 months will focus on the remaining tasks and on the certification process.

Tangible benefits of STAMINA will be the adoption of mobile codes and mobile agents for military operations. This will make it possible to exploit their mobility efficiency and scalability. The main deliverables of STAMINA are:

- The proposed solutions for the four main tasks.
- The security analysis of the four main tasks.
- The cryptographic protocols that will be used to secure the mobile agents.

This material is based upon work supported in part by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Office under grant number DAAD19-02-1-0235.

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