Security




 

Many of the information resources that are made available and maintained in distributed systems have a high intrinsic value to their users. Their security is therefore of considerable importance. Security for information resources has three components:
confidentiality (protection against disclosure to unauthorized individuals), integrity (protection against alteration or corruption), and availability (protection against interference with the means to access the resources).

 the Internet allows a program in one computer to communicate with a program in another computer irrespective of its location, security risks are associated with allowing free access to all of the resources in an intranet. Although a firewall can be used to form a barrier around an intranet, restricting the traffic that can enter and leave, this does not deal with ensuring the appropriate use of resources by users within an intranet, or with the appropriate use of resources in the Internet, that are not protected by firewalls.

In a distributed system, clients send requests to access data managed by servers, which involves sending information in messages over a network. For example:

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1. A doctor might request access to hospital patient data or send additions to that data.
2. In electronic commerce and banking, users send their credit card numbers across the Internet.
In both examples, the challenge is to send sensitive information in a message over a network in a secure manner. But security is not just a matter of concealing the contents of messages – it also involves knowing for sure the identity of the user or other agent on whose behalf a message was sent. In the first example, the server needs to know that the user is really a doctor, and in the second example, the user needs to be sure of the identity of the shop or bank with which they are dealing. The second challenge here is to identify a remote user or other agent correctly. Both of these challenges can be met by the use of encryption techniques developed for this purpose.
However, the following two security challenges have not yet been fully met:
Denial of service attacks: Another security problem is that a user may wish to disrupt a service for some reason. This can be achieved by bombarding the service with such a large number of pointless requests that the serious users are unable to use it. This is called a denial of service attack. There have been several denials of service
attacks on well-known web services. Currently, such attacks are countered by attempting to catch and punish the perpetrators after the event, but that is not a general solution to the problem. Countermeasures based on improvements in the management of networks are under development.
Security of mobile code: Mobile code needs to be handled with care. Consider someone who receives an executable program as an electronic mail attachment: the possible effects of running the program are unpredictable; for example, it may seem to display an interesting picture but in reality it may access local resources, or perhaps be part of a denial of service attack.

 



Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: the publication of interfaces is only the starting point for adding and extending services in a distributed system. The challenge to designers is to tackle the complexity of distributed systems consisting of many components engineered by different people. view more..
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Ans: Data types such as integers may be represented in different ways on different sorts of hardware – for example, there are two alternatives for the byte ordering of integers. These differences in representation must be dealt with if messages are to be exchanged between programs running on different hardware view more..
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Ans: In practice, patterns of resource sharing vary widely in their scope and in how closely users work together. At one extreme, a search engine on the Web provides a facility to users throughout the world, users who need never come into contact with one another directly. At the other extreme, in computer-supported cooperative working (CSCW), a group of users who cooperate directly share resources such as documents in a small, closed group. view more..
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Ans: a firewall can be used to form a barrier around an intranet, restricting the traffic that can enter and leave, this does not deal with ensuring the appropriate use of resources by users within an intranet, or with the appropriate use of resources in the Internet, that are not protected by firewalls. view more..
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Ans: ly and efficiently at many different scales, ranging from a small intranet to the Internet. A system is described as scalable if it will remain effective when there is a significant increase in the number of resources and the number of users. The number of computers and servers in the Internet has increased dramatically. view more..
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Ans: Failures in a distributed system are partial – that is, some components fail while others continue to function. Therefore the handling of failures is particularly difficult. The following techniques for dealing with failures are discussed throughout the book view more..
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Ans: he process that manages a shared resource could take one client request at a time. But that approach limits throughput. Therefore services and applications generally allow multiple client requests to be processed concurrently. view more..
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Ans: oncealment from the user and the application programmer of the separation of components in a distributed system, so that the system is perceived as a whole rather than as a collection of independent components view more..
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Ans: Reliability and security issues are critical in the design of most computer systems. The performance aspect of quality of service was originally defined in terms of responsiveness and computational throughput, but it has been redefined in terms of ability to meet timeliness guarantees, as discussed in the following paragraphs view more..
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Ans: The Web began life at the European centre for nuclear research (CERN), Switzerland, in 1989 as a vehicle for exchanging documents between a community of physicists connected by the Internet [Berners-Lee 1999]. A key feature of the Web is that it provides a hypertext structure among the documents that it stores, reflecting the users’ requirement to organize their knowledge. view more..
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Ans: Resource sharing is the main motivating factor for constructing distributed systems. Resources such as printers, files, web pages or database records are managed by servers of the appropriate type. For example, web servers manage web pages and other web resources. Resources are accessed by clients – for example, the clients of web servers are generally called browsers. view more..
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Ans: Physical models consider the types of computers and devices that constitute a system and their interconnectivity, without details of specific technologies. view more..
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Ans: The discussion and examples of Chapter 1 suggest that distributed systems of different types share important underlying properties and give rise to common design problems. In this chapter we show how the properties and design issues of distributed systems can be captured and discussed through the use of descriptive models view more..
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Ans: A physical model is a representation of the underlying hardware elements of a distributed system that abstracts away from specific details of the computer and networking technologies employed. view more..
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Ans: Major concerns are to make the system reliable, manageable, adaptable and cost-effective. The architectural design of a building has similar aspects – it determines not only its appearance but also its general structure and architectural style (gothic, neo-classical, modern) and provides a consistent frame of reference for the design view more..
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Ans: From a system perspective, the answer is normally very clear in that the entities that communicate in a distributed system are typically processes, leading to the prevailing view of a distributed system as processes coupled with appropriate interprocess communication paradigms view more..
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Ans: ion for a given problem domain. This is a large topic, and many architectural patterns have been identified for distributed systems. In this section, we present several key architectural patterns in distributed systems, including layering and tiered architectures and the related concept of thin clients (including the specific mechanism of virtual network computing). We also examine web services as an architectural pattern and give pointers to others that may be applicable in distributed systems. view more..
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Ans: As mentioned in the introduction, networks are everywhere and underpin many everyday services that we now take for granted: the Internet and the associated World Wide Web, web search, online gaming, email, social networks, eCommerce, etc. To illustrate this point further, consider Figure 1.1 , which describes a selected range of key commercial or social application sectors highlighting some of the associated established or emerging uses of distributed systems technology. view more..



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