18th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference
December 9-13, 2002
Las Vegas, Nevada

Networking in The Solar Trust Model: Determining Optimal Trust Paths in a Decentralized Trust Network

Michael Clifford
The Aerospace Corporation

The Solar Trust Model provides a method by which the sender of a message can be authenticated, and the level of trust that can be placed in the sender of the message or the message itself can be computed. The model works even if there is no prior relationship between the sender and receiver of the message. The Solar Trust Model overcomes a variety of limitations inherent in the design of other trust models and public key infrastructures. This paper presents a variety of enhancements and formalizations to the basic concepts of the model. In addition, this paper provides a set of algorithms that can be used to determine all of the possible trusted paths along which a message can be sent from a sender to recipient and the optimal choice of paths from a selection of paths. The paper also presents algorithms for reducing the network load produced by the model through piggybacking, path caching, and load distribution techniques.

Keywords: trust, pki, Solar Trust Model, authentication

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