Adaptation to context is likely to be a key element in ensuring that pervasive devices make the most efficient use of the limited resources available to them. This adaptation can occur on different timescales: from very rapid adaptation to network congestion, through software component discovery and loading to allow for the addition of new functionality, to longer-term component update and patching. In the latter two cases, dynamic code loading introduces security problems, particularly because it may be from untrusted sources with whom pervasive devices happen to be networked at the time of need. As a consequence, we propose a local decision-making process that aims at producing better-informed decisions for pervasive devices when they contemplate whether or not to load software from other devices. This process has three key elements: (i) explicit identification of potential risks, given the device’s context and the type of application; (ii) computation of likelihoods with which the risks will occur, based on trust mechanisms; (iii) integration of the risk attitude of the user of the device, through customisable elementary utility functions.
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