On the Resilience of Broadcasting Strategies in a Failure-Propogating Environment

Meng-Jang Lin, Aleta M Ricciardi and Keith Marzullo
July 6, 1999

A process that is under the control of an intruder may masquerade as a legitimate process and, like an arbitrarily faulty process, may not follow the specification that other processes expect it to. Given this similarity, it seems plausible to mask the effects of such compromised processes in the same way that one masks arbitrary failures. One must, however, be able to bound the number of such compromised processes. We examine this problem in the context of multicast protocols. We cast the problem into terms of availability, which is the probability that no more than a certain number of processes are infected. We consider the two questions "what is the availability of the system after having run for some period of time?" and "how long can a system run until the availability is unacceptably low?" We examine how the answers to these questions change as the number of processes grows, as the probability of a message being infective changes, and as different multicast strategies are used.

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