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Secure Mobile Multiagent Systems in Virtual Marketplaces - A Case Study on Comparison Shopping

Ina Schäfer
DFKI, DFKI Research Reports (RR), Vol. 02-02, 2002.


The growth of the Internet has deeply influenced our daily lives as well as our commercial structures. Agents and multiagent systems will play a major role in the further development of Internet-based applications like virtual marketplaces. However, there is an increasing awareness of the security problems involved. These systems will not be successful until their problems are solved. This report examines comparison shopping, a virtual marketplace scenario and an application domain for a mobile multiagent system, with respect to its security issues. The interests of the participants in the scenario, merchants and clients, are investigated. Potential security threats are identified and security objectives counteracting those threats are established. These objectives are refined into building blocks a secure multiagent system should provide. The building blocks are transformed into features of agents and executing platforms. Originating from this analysis, solutions for the actual implementation of these building blocks are suggested. It is pointed out under which assumptions it is possible to achieve the security goals, if at all.