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Enforcing safety and consistency constraints in policy-based authorization systems

Lee, AJ and Winslett, M (2008) Enforcing safety and consistency constraints in policy-based authorization systems. ACM Transactions on Information and System Security, 12 (2). ISSN 1094-9224

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In trust negotiation and other forms of distributed proving, networked entities cooperate to form proofs of authorization that are justified by collections of certified attribute credentials. These attributes may be obtained through interactions with any number of external entities and are collected and validated over an extended period of time. Although these collections of credentials in some ways resemble partial system snapshots, current trust negotiation and distributed proving systems lack the notion of a consistent global state in which the satisfaction of authorization policies should be checked. In this article, we argue that unlike the notions of consistency studied in other areas of distributed computing, the level of consistency required during policy evaluation is predicated solely upon the security requirements of the policy evaluator. As such, there is little incentive for entities to participate in complicated consistency preservation schemes like those used in distributed computing, distributed databases, and distributed shared memory. We go on to show that the most intuitive notion of consistency fails to provide basic safety guarantees under certain circumstances and then propose several more refined notions of consistency that provide stronger safety guarantees. We provide algorithms that allow each of these refined notions of consistency to be attained in practice with minimal overheads and formally prove several security and privacy properties of these algorithms. Lastly, we explore the notion of strategic design trade-offs in the consistency enforcement algorithm space and propose several modifications to the core algorithms presented in this article. These modifications enhance the privacy-preservation or completeness properties of these algorithms without altering the consistency constraints that they enforce. © ACM 2008.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lee, AJadamlee@pitt.eduADAMLEE
Winslett, M
Date: 1 December 2008
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: ACM Transactions on Information and System Security
Volume: 12
Number: 2
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1145/1455518.1455520
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Computer Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1094-9224
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2012 21:28
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 18:56


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