5th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 98)
An Authorization Model and Its Formal Semantics
Elisa Bertino, Francesco Buccafurri, Elena Ferrari, Pasquale Rullo
Abstract : This paper describes an advanced authorization mechanism based on a logic formalism. The model supports both positive and negative authorizations. It also supports derivation rules by which an authorization can be granted on the basis of the presence or absence of other authorizations. Subjects, objects and authorization types are organized into hierarchies, supporting a more adequate representation of their semantics. From the authorizations explicitly specified, additional authorizations are automatically derived by the system based on those hierarchies. The combination of all the above features results in a powerful yet flexible access control mechanism. The specification language of the system is an extension of Ordered Logic with ordered domains. This is an elegant yet powerful formalism whereby the basic concepts of the authorization model can be naturally formalized. Its semantics is based on the notion of stable model and assigns, to a given set of authorization rules, a multiplicity of (stable) models, each representing a possible way of assigning access authorizations. This form of non-determinism entails an innovative approach to enforce access control: when an access request is issued, the appropriate model is chosen on the basis of the accesses currently under execution in the system.
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