Authorization and Attribute Certificates for Widely Distributed Access Control
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Authorization and Attribute Certificates for Widely Distributed Access Control

  • Author(s): Johnston, William E.
  • Mudumbai, Srilekha
  • Thompson, Mary
  • et al.
Abstract

We describe a system whose purpose is to explore the use of certificates for the distributed management of access rights for resources that have multiple, independent, and geographically dispersed stakeholders. The stakeholders assert their use-conditions in authorization certificates and designate those t rusted to attest to the corresponding attributes. These use-conditions implicitly define access groups through their requirement for certain attributes. All use-conditions must be satisfied simultaneously, so the actual access group is the intersection of all of the groups. A policy engine collects the use-condition certificates and attribute certificates when a user attempts to ac cess a particular resource. If all of the use-conditions are met, a capability is generated for the resource. The policy engine can provide several different policy models depending on whether any relationship is established among the use-conditions. The system architecture and implementation is described, together with some of the identified strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities.

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