Managing Digital Reputations
Peer-to-peer information sharing environments are increasingly gaining acceptance on the Internet as they provide an infrastructure in which the desired information can be located and downloaded while preserving the anonymity of both requestors and providers. As recent experience with P2P environments such as Gnutella shows, anonymity opens the door to possible misuses and abuses by resource providers exploiting the network as a way to spread tampered-with resources, including malicious programs, such as trojan horses and viruses. We propose an approach to P2P security where servants can keep track, and share with others, information about the reputation of their peers. Reputation sharing is based on a distributed polling algorithm by which resource requestors can assess the reliability of perspective providers before initiating the download. The approach complements existing P2P protocols and has a limited impact on current implementations. Furthermore, it keeps the current level of anonymity of requestors and providers, as well as that of the parties sharing their view on others' reputations.