TBA : A Hybrid of Logic and Extensional Access Control Systems

  • Timothy L. Hinrichs
  • William C. GarrisonIII
  • Adam J. Lee
  • Skip Saunders
  • John C. Mitchell
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7140)


Logical policy-based access control models are greatly expressive and thus provide the flexibility for administrators to represent a wide variety of authorization policies. Extensional access control models, on the other hand, utilize simple data structures to better enable a less trained and non-administrative workforce to participate in the day-to-day operations of the system. In this paper, we formally study a hybrid approach, tag-based authorization (TBA ), which combines the ease of use of extensional systems while still maintaining a meaningful degree of the expressiveness of logical systems. TBA employs an extensional data structure to represent metadata tags associated with subjects and objects, as well as a logical language for defining the access control policy in terms of those tags. We formally define TBA and introduce variants that include tag ontologies and delegation. We evaluate the resulting system by comparing to well-known extensional and logical access control models.


Access Control Policy Language Access Control Model Logical Language Basic Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Becker, M.Y., Fournet, C.Y., Gordon, A.D.: SecPAL: Design and semantics of a decentralized authorization language. JCS (2009)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bertino, E., Catania, B., Ferrari, E., Perlasca, P.: A logical framework for reasoning about access control models. ACM TISSEC 6(1), 71–127 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bertino, E., Ferrari, E., Buccafurri, F., Rullo, P.: A logical framework for reasoning on data access control policies. In: IEEE CSFW (1999)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bertino, E., Jajodia, S., Samarati, P.: A flexible authorization mechanism for relational data management systems. ACM TISSEC 17(2), 101–140 (1999)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blaze, M., Feigenbaum, J., Lacy, J.: Decentralized trust management. In: Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, pp. 164–173 (1996)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bonatti, P.A., di Vimercati, S.D., Samarati, P.: A modular approach to composing access control policies. In: ACM CCS, pp. 164–173 (2000)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bowers, K.D., Bauer, L., Garg, D., Pfenning, F., Reiter, M.K.: Consumable credentials in logic-based access-control systems. In: NDSS, pp. 143–157 (2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bruns, G., Huth, M.: Access-control policies via belnap logic: Effective and efficient composition and analysis. In: IEEE CSF (2008)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cholvy, L., Cuppens, F.: Analyzing consistency of security policies. In: IEEE S&P (1997)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Crampton, J.: Understanding and developing role-based administrative models. In: ACM CCS, pp. 158–167 (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cuppens, F., Cholvy, L., Saurel, C., Carrere, J.: Merging security policies: analysis of a practical example. In: IEEE CSFW (1998)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Halpern, J.Y., Weissman, V.: Using first-order logic to reason about policies. In: IEEE CSFW (2003)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hinrichs, T., Garrison, W., Lee, A., Saunders, S., Mitchell, J.: TBA: A hybrid of logic and extensional access control systems (Extended version). Technical Report TR-11-182, University of Pittsburgh (October 2011)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Li, N., Mitchell, J.C., Winsborough, W.H.: Design of a role-based trust-management framework. In: IEEE S&P (2002)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Razavi, M.N., Iverson, L.: Supporting selective information sharing with people-tagging. In: CHI Extended Abstracts, pp. 3423–3428 (2008)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ribeiro, C., Zuquete, A., Ferreira, P., Guedes, P.: SPL: An access control language for security policies with complex constraints. In: NDSS (2001)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tripunitara, M.V., Li, N.: A theory for comparing the expressive power of access control models. JCS 15(2), 231–272 (2007)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. Networking to enable coalition operations. Technical report, MITRE Corporation (2004)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wang, Q., Jin, H., Li, N.: Usable Access Control in Collaborative Environments: Authorization Based on People-Tagging. In: Backes, M., Ning, P. (eds.) ESORICS 2009. LNCS, vol. 5789, pp. 268–284. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wijesekera, D., Jajodia, S.: Policy algebras for access control - the predicate case. In: ACM CCS, pp. 171–180 (2001)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy L. Hinrichs
    • 1
  • William C. GarrisonIII
    • 2
  • Adam J. Lee
    • 2
  • Skip Saunders
    • 3
  • John C. Mitchell
    • 4
  1. 1.University of ChicagoUSA
  2. 2.University of PittsburghUSA
  3. 3.MITRE CorporationUSA
  4. 4.Stanford UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations