The ubiquitous computing paradigm calls for computational services to be accessible to users anywhere and anytime. A combination of user preferences and context information is used to customise service and information delivery. Hardware and software sensors supply the system with context information so that it can better support user tasks. The heterogeneity of networks in pervasive systems (wired wide area networks, wireless networks, ad-hoc networks, sensor networks) makes these systems very open to security attacks. As the network and its context acquisition mechanisms are so pervasive, privacy of the users is also a major issue. Mechanisms for providing security in ubiquitous computing environments do not exist. Nor is there an effective way for users of ubiquitous computers to outline their privacy requirements and have the system act based on those requirements. Existing security solutions from homogenous distributed networks do not take full advantage of the ubiquitous environment to protect users. They are also not capable of operating in the heterogeneous network environment typical of ubiquitous computing.
This project will develop a framework of security mechanisms to address the security deficit in ubiquitous computing. The framework will provide authentication mechanisms which use environmental and user meta data (context information), such as user location, to enhance the authentication process. The results of the authentication will affect the access control, which also will make use of context information to respond dynamically to varying user and environmental conditions. A privacy specification language will be developed to enable users to specify how they want their data to be treated and how any further information collected about them should be handled. Mechanisms using quantified trust will also be investigated. These mechanisms will enable resource limited devices to communicate and use resource rich device protocols by identifying trusted proxies on the network. The framework developed from this research will form a basis for providing security in ubiquitous computing environments.