Methedological Issues for Designing Multi-agent Systems with Authentication and Authorization

G.A. Santana Torrellas (Mexico)


Multi-Agent Systems, Network Security, Authenticationn Authorization.


This paper deals with one of the probably most challenging and, in our opinion, little addressed question that can be found in Distributed Artificial Intelligence today, that of the methodological design of a learning Multi-Agent System Security Engineering (MASSE). It relies on three important notions: (1) independence from the implementation techniques; (2) definition of an agent as a set of three different levels of roles; (3) specification of a methodological process that reconciles both the bottom-up and the top-down approaches to the problem of system design. In this paper we show how this method enables services offered over information networks, like Electronic-banking, validating the identity of a user and the authorities he has is a fundamental issue, considering the different levels of behaviours to which they can be applied and the techniques which appear to be best suited in these cases. This presentations allows us to take a broad perspective on the use of all the various techniques developed in Security and their potential use within an MAS design methodology. These techniques are illustrated by examples taken from the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) based solutions and generally considered to be the most secure and reliable. This allows us to propose in a mobile environment, where the same services can be used through different channels, like the web and the WAP, the issue of authentication and authorisation is often more complex. The standardisation of technologies to be used to solve the problems is advancing at a fast and steady pace. The actual implementations are lagging a step behind, especially when it comes to developing overall solutions for authentication and authorisation.

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