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Trusted Computing, Trusted Third Parties, and Verified Communications

Summary: Trusted Computing, Trusted Third Parties,
and Verified Communications
Mart´in Abadi
University of California at Santa Cruz
Trusted Computing gives rise to a new supply of trusted third parties on which distributed
systems can potentially rely. They are the secure system components (hardware and software)
built into nodes with Trusted Computing capabilities. These trusted third parties may be used
for supporting communications in distributed systems. In particular, a trusted third party can
check and certify the data sent from a node A to a node B, so that B can have some confidence in
the properties of the data despite A's possible incompetence or malice. We present and explore
this application of Trusted Computing, both in general and in specific instantiations.
1 Introduction
Trusted third parties can be useful in a variety of tasks in distributed systems. For instance, certifica-
tion authorities are helpful in associating public keys with the names of users and other principals;
in multi-player games, servers can contribute to preventing some forms of cheating; and smart-cards
with limited resources may rely on trusted, off-card servers for verifying downloaded bytecode class
files. Unfortunately, resorting to trusted third parties is not always practical, as it typically results
in deployment difficulties, communication overhead, and other costs. Moreover, well-founded trust
is scarce in large-scale distributed systems, and so are reliable trusted third parties.


Source: Abadi, Martín - Department of Computer Science, University of California at Santa Cruz


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences