As two major communication technologies, the internet and wireless, are maturing rapidly to dominate our civilised life, the authors urgently need to re-establish users’ confidence to harvest new potential applications of large-scale distributed systems. Service agents and distributed multi-agent systems (MASs) have shown the potential to help with this move as the lack of trust caused by heavily compromised security issues and concerns coupled with the out-of-date solutions are hindering the progress. The authors therefore seek new remedies to ensure that the continuity in developing new economies is maintained through building new solutions to address today's techno-economical problems. Following a scan of the literature the authors discuss the state-of-the-art progress followed by some observations and remarks for the researchers in the field. Here the authors recognise the need for new ‘distributed security’ solutions, as an overlay service, to rejuvenate and exploit the distributed artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for secure MAS as a natural solution to pave the way to enable a long awaited application paradigm of the near future.