Automated Security Analysis of Authorization Policies with Contextual Information

  • Khai Kim Quoc Dinh
  • Anh TruongEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11390)


Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) has made great attention in the security community and is widely deployed in the enterprise as a major tool to manage security and restrict system access to unauthorized users. As the RBAC model evolves to meet enterprise requirements, the RBAC policies will become complex and need to be managed by multiple collaborative administrators. The collaborative administrator may interact unintendedly with the policies, creates the undesired effect to the security requirements of the enterprise. Consequently, researchers have studied various safety analyzing techniques that are useful to prevent such issues in RBAC, especially with the Administrative Role-Based Access Control (ARBAC97). For critical applications, several extensions of RBAC, such as Spatial-Temporal Role-Based Access Control (STRBAC), are being adopted in recent years to enhance the security of an application on authorization with contextual information such as time and space. The features, which proposed in STRBAC for collaborative administrators, may interact in subtle ways that violate the original security requirements. However, the analysis of it has not been considered in the literature.

In this research, we consider the security analysis technique for the extension of STRBAC, named Administrative STRBAC (ASTRBAC), and illustrate the safety analysis technique to detect and report the violation of the security requirements. This technique leverages First-Order Logic and Symbolic Model Checking (SMT) by translating the policies to decidable reachability problems, which are essential to understand the security policies and inform policies designer using this model to take appropriate actions. Our extensive experimental evaluation demonstrates the correctness of our proposed solutions in practice, which supports finite ASTRBAC policies analysis without prior knowledge about the number of users in the system.


Computer security Security analysis Access control Role-Based Access Control Spatial-Temporal Role-Based Access Control 



This research is funded by Vietnam National University HoChiMinh City (VNU-HCM) under grant number C2018-20-10.


  1. 1.
    Samarati, P., de Vimercati, S.C.: Access control: policies, models, and mechanisms. In: Focardi, R., Gorrieri, R. (eds.) FOSAD 2000. LNCS, vol. 2171, pp. 137–196. Springer, Heidelberg (2001). Scholar
  2. 2.
    National Computer Security Center (NCSC): A guide to understanding discretionary access control in trusted system, Report NSCD-TG-003 Version1, 30 September 1987Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Osborn, S.: Mandatory access control and role-based access control revisited. In: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM Workshop on Role-Based Access Control, RBAC 1997, pp 31–40. ACM (1997)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sandhu, R., Coyne, E.J., Feinstein, H.L., Youman, C.E.: Role-based access control models. IEEE Comput. 29, 38–47 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ferraiolo, D., Kuhn, R.: Role-based access control. In: 15th NIST-NCSC National Computer Security Conference, pp. 554–563, October 1992Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sandhu, R., Ferraiolo, D., Kuhn, R.: The NIST model for role-based access control: toward a unified standard. In: 5th ACM Workshop Role-Based Access Control, pp. 47–63, July 2000Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sandhu, R., Bhamidipati, V., Munawer, Q.: The ARBAC97 model for role-based administration of roles. ACM Trans. Inf. Syst. Secur. (TISSEC) 2, 105–135 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kumar, M., Newman, R.: STRBAC - an approach towards spatiotemporal role-based access control. In: Proceedings of the Third IASTED International Conference on Communication Network and Information Security CNIS, pp. 150–155 (2006)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sharma, M., Sural, S., Atluri, V., Vaidya, J.: An administrative model for spatio-temporal role based access control. In: Bagchi, A., Ray, I. (eds.) ICISS 2013. LNCS, vol. 8303, pp. 375–389. Springer, Heidelberg (2013). Scholar
  10. 10.
    Li, N., Tripunitara, M.: Security analysis in role-based access control. In: The Proceedings of ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies, pp. 126–135. ACM Press (2004)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jha, S., Li, N., Tripunitara, M., Wang, Q., Winsborough, H.: Towards formal verification of role-based access control policies. IEEE TDSC 5(4), 242–255 (2008)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gofman, M.I., Luo, R., Solomon, Ayla C., Zhang, Y., Yang, P., Stoller, S.D.: RBAC-PAT: a policy analysis tool for role based access control. In: Kowalewski, S., Philippou, A. (eds.) TACAS 2009. LNCS, vol. 5505, pp. 46–49. Springer, Heidelberg (2009). Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jayaraman, K., Tripunitara, M., Ganesh, V., Rinard, M., Chapin, S.: Mohawk abstraction-refinement and bound-estimation for verifying access control policies. ACM TISSEC 15, 18 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ferrara, A.L., Madhusudan, P., Nguyen, T.L., Parlato, G.: Vac - verifier of administrative role-based access control policies. In: Biere, A., Bloem, R. (eds.) CAV 2014. LNCS, vol. 8559, pp. 184–191. Springer, Cham (2014). Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ranise, S., Truong, A., Vigano, L.: Automated analysis of RBAC policies with temporal constraints and static role hierarchies. In: the Proceeding of the 30th ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC15), pp. 2177–2184. ACM (2015)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ranise, S., Truong, A., Armando, A.: Scalable and precise automated analysis of administrative temporal role-based access control. In: Proceedings of the 19th ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies, pp. 103–114. ACM (2014) Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Truong, A., Ranise, S.: ASASPXL: new clother for analysing ARBAC policies. In: Dang, T.K., Wagner, R., Küng, J., Thoai, N., Takizawa, M., Neuhold, E. (eds.) FDSE 2016. LNCS, vol. 10018, pp. 267–284. Springer, Cham (2016). Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ghilardi, S., Ranise, S.: MCMT: a model checker modulo theories. In: Giesl, J., Hähnle, R. (eds.) IJCAR 2010. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 6173, pp. 22–29. Springer, Heidelberg (2010). Scholar
  19. 19.
    Harrison, M., Ruzzo, W., Ullman, J.: Protection in operating systems. Commun. ACM 19, 461–471 (1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bertino, E., Bonatti, P., Ferrari, E.: TRBAC a temporal role-based access control model. ACM TISSEC 4(3), 191–233 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Joshi, J., Bertino, E., Latif, U., Ghafoor, A.: A generalized temporal role-based access control model. IEEE Trans. Knowl. Data Eng. 17, 4–23 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kumar, M., Newman, R.: STRBAC - an approach towards spatio-temporal role-based access control. In: Communication, Network, and Information Security, pp. 150–155 (2006)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Aich, S., Mondal, S., Sural, S., Majumdar, A.K.: Role based access control with spatiotemporal context for mobile applications. In: Gavrilova, M.L., Tan, C.J.K., Moreno, E.D. (eds.) Transactions on Computational Science IV. LNCS, vol. 5430, pp. 177–199. Springer, Heidelberg (2009). Scholar
  24. 24.
    Uzun, E., Atluri, V., Sural, S., Vaidya, J., Parlato, G., Ferrara, A.: Analyzing temporal role-based access control models. In: SACMAT, pp. 177–186. ACM (2012)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ghilardi, S., Ranise, S.: Backward reachability of array-based systems by SMT solving termination and invariant synthesis. Log. Methods Comput. Sci. 6, 1–48 (2010)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
  27. 27.
    Ranise, S.: Symbolic backward reachability with effectively propositional logic. Appl. Secur. Policy Anal. FMSD 42, 24–45 (2013)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Piskac, R., Moura, L., Bjørner, N.: Deciding effectively propositional logic using DPLL and substitution sets. J. Autom. Reason. 44, 401–424 (2010)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sasturkar, A., Yang, A., Stoller, S., Ramakrishnan, C.: Policy analysis for administrative role-based access control. In: 19th IEEE Computer Security Foundations Workshop, pp. 124–138 (2006)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Dinh, K.K.Q., Tran, T.D., Truong, A.: Security analysis of administrative role-based access control policies with contextual information. In: Dang, T.K., Wagner, R., Küng, J., Thoai, N., Takizawa, M., Neuhold, E.J. (eds.) FDSE 2017. LNCS, vol. 10646, pp. 243–261. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, VNU-HCMHo Chi Minh CityVietnam

Personalised recommendations