Malicious-and Accidental-Fault Tolerance for Internet Applications
IST Research Project IST-1999-11583
1 January 2000 - 28 February 2003

Check out a summary of the project, or browse through the original project proposal.

MAFTIA involved experts from 5 countries and 6 organisations. The Industrial Advisory Board provided valuable feedback on the work of the project.

Research was organised into six workpackages.

Find out more about the key scientific results and achievements, and the benefits of this research collaboration.

Final Workshop
Held at Newcastle University, 18-19 February, 2003.

All the MAFTIA deliverables in one place.

A list of MAFTIA-related papers published by members of the project.

Contribution to EU social objectives

The quality of life of people today is intimately connected to their ability to access information, despite their geographical location, facilities, etc.

If widespread, easy to use and dependable technologies are not deployed in the forthcoming years then access to the information society will be limited to those few companies or individuals with enough technological and financial capacity and, even to those few, the risks and cost associated may be outweigh any benefits.

In fact, the infrastructure is becoming pervasive, and the technology gadgets available to access it ubiquitous. There are a number of ways to promote connectivity, and there is a massive and ubiquitous deployment of embedded systems that supervise, store and control important pieces of our day-to-day life support. In the measure that this happens, so people become more depending on technology and connectivity, and their privacy becomes threatened by it. Rather than being a factor of social progress, this evolution may in fact become its deterrent, if not based on correct assumptions.

This project comes in the line of seeking affordable dependability, extensive deployment of technology, reliance on cost-effective technologies (e.g. Commercial Off The Shelf, COTS), to enable the widespread use of such technologies by the society at large. One goal of this approach is to improve the quality of the generic pieces of technology available to the common citizen for her/his accessibility, and thus reduce the risk of her/his dependence on "being-connected".

The risks we foresee come as much from accidental haphazard faults as from intentional, malicious attacks. There is a social risk in making accessibility advance by having technology as its main (perhaps sole) driver. The right of citizens to privacy may be threatened if this road is followed. This has been acknowledged by the European Union, e.g., in the Recommendation on "Invisible and Automatic Processing of Personal Data on the Internet Performed by Software and Hardware" as well as in various Directives and Resolutions.

MAFTIA proposes to give attention to both accidental and malicious causes of failure under an unified perspective, and thus bring into consideration the risk represented by the fact that an increasing amount of information about citizens is currently residing or circulating within the physical reach of intruders. Furthermore, it seeks to do so not only at infrastructural level, but also at the level of the interface to users. We intend the results of the project to be considered a coherent body of research that helps building systems that are simultaneously reliable and secure, but as easy to use as to build.

Most employment created in Europe resides within small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs may be threatened by the current trends towards company mergers and as such they should seek competitive advantages that relate to their small size: heterogeneity, proximity and geographical coverage; agility and versatility; lightweight structure. As examples, SMEs should: a) achieve critical mass for efficient market access, b) develop co-operative research and development facilities, c) reduce financial and administrative overheads, d) increase production flexibility, e) shorten development and marketing periods, f) contribute to product and process innovation, etc. Most or all of these desirable initiatives depend on the ability of SMEs to master IT technologies, and be connected. Awareness about the best use of IT in general, and creation of virtual enterprises or enterprise networks are two major key factors of success of SME-based enterprise tissues.

As an employment generator, widespread connectivity has another facet: teleworking. Teleworking, as a generic enabler of employment together with a (sometimes drastic) increase in the quality of life, can only be made reality when connecting to the network is made: cheap, easy, reliable and secure. This project seeks results that help to realise this goal, by looking at ways to architect and program large-scale, Internet-based systems and services:

  • that are reliable and secure, both for the provider and the users;
  • yet made of COTS technologies wherever possible, so that they are also cheap;
  • and finally with interfaces that hide the complexity of the functional and non-functional properties, so that they are easy to use.

One of the reasons that make this project challenging is that these objectives are very often seen as contradictory.