One hindrance to the widespread adoption of mobile-agent technology is the lack of security. Security will be the issue that has to be addressed carefully if mobile agents are to be used in the field of electronic commerce. SAFER (secure agent fabrication, evolution and roaming) is a mobile-agent framework that is specially designed for the purpose of electronic commerce (Guan & Hua, 2003; Guan, Zhu, & Maung, 2004; Zhu, Guan, Yang, & Ko, 2000). Security has been a prime concern from the first day of our research (Guan & Yang, 2002; Yang & Guan, 2000). By building strong and efficient security mechanisms, SAFER aims to provide a trustworthy framework for mobile agents to assist users in conducting mobile or electronic-commerce transactions.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Agent: An agent is a piece of software that acts to accomplish tasks on behalf of its user.
Mobile Agent: Also called a roaming agent, it is an agent that can move from machine to machine for the purpose of data collection or code execution.
Flexibility: Flexibility is the ease with which a system or component can be modified for use in applications or environments other than those for which it was specifically designed.
Cryptography: Cryptography is the art of protecting information by transforming it (encrypting it) into an unreadable format, called cipher text. Only those who possess a secret key can decipher (or decrypt) the message into plain text.
Security: Security involves the effort to create a secure computing platform designed so that agents (users or programs) can only perform actions that have been allowed.
Integrity: Integrity regards the protection of data or program code from being modified by unauthorized parties.
Protocol: A protocol is a convention or standard that controls or enables the connection, communication, and data transfer between two computing endpoints. Protocols may be implemented by hardware, software, or a combination of the two. At the lowest level, a protocol defines a hardware connection.