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Java Distributed Computing by Jim Farley

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Security Issues and Concerns

Just about everything making up a site on a computer network is a resource with potential value. The most obvious resource you need to worry about is information—the data being sent over the network and the information residing on your host computers. Other resources that could be targets are the applications on your hosts, the CPU resources of your computers, even the bandwidth available on your communications links. A hostile party may want to steal these resources or do damage to them.

Following are some of the things an attacker may do to steal or destroy your resources:

Eavesdrop on network communications

The hostile agent may physically tap into network lines, or set up rogue programs on other hosts to watch for interesting traffic. They may be trying to steal information, or gather information that will help them steal or damage other resources.

Set up imposter agents or data sources

This will let them fool you into sending valuable information or giving access to resources they shouldn’t have. Our Solver servers could be accessed by intruders acting as legitimate clients, and used to solve their numerical problems; or a hostile party could flood the server with ProblemSets to be solved, rendering the server useless to the legitimate users. Clients of the Solver are also vulnerable, since a hostile party could set up an imposter Solver meant to steal the problem data submitted by clients, or they could purposely generate erroneous results. If ...

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