A secure, distributed and dynamic RBAC for relational database applications

Citation: Diogo Regateiro, Óscar Mortágua Pereira, Rui L. Aguiar, "A secure, distributed and dynamic RBAC for relational database applications", University of Aveiro, MSc Dissertation, Jul 2014

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Abstract

Nowadays, database application use tools like Java Database Connectivity, Hibernate or ADO.NET to access data stored in databases. These tools are designed to bring together the relational database and object-oriented programming paradigms, forsaking applied access control policies. Hence, the application developers must master the established policies as a means to develop software that is conformant with the established access control policies. Furthermore, there are situations where these policies can evolve dynamically. In these cases it becomes hard to adjust the access control mechanisms. This challenge has led to the development of an extension to the role based access control (RBAC) model where permissions are defined as a sequence of create, read, update and delete (CRUD) expressions that can be executed and the interfaces to access them. From these permissions it's possible to generate security artefacts on the client side, i.e. in a distributed manner, which allows the clients to access the stored data while satisfying the security policies defined. On top of this model extension, a security layer has also been created in order to make the access control secure and obligatory. For the RBAC model extension this work leverages a previous work that created a dynamic access control architecture for relational applications, here referred to as DACA (Dynamic Access Control Architecture). DACA uses business logic information and the defined access control policies to build dynamically the security artefacts for the applications. In situations where the access control policies can evolve dynamically, the security artefacts are adjusted automatically. This base work, however, defines as permissions CRUD expressions, which can be executed in any order, and needs an adequate security layer to authenticate users and protect the system form intruders. Hence, this work aims to create a new architecture, called “S-DRACA” (Secure, Dynamic and Distributed Role-based Access Control Architecture), which extends the work done with DACA so that it is capable of enforcing sequences of CRUD expressions that the applications can execute if the sequences are associated with their roles and the development of a security layer to make it secure. We discuss as well the performance of this system and its applicability to other environments outside of relational databases.

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Publisher: University of Aveiro