Access Control in Information Security Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

" (Tolone, Ahn, Pai, et al. 2005 P. 37).

Table 1 provides the summary of the evaluation of various criteria mentioned in the paper. The table uses comparative terminology such as High, Medium and Low and, descriptive terminology such as Active, Passive, and Simple, and the standard Yes (Y) and No (N). The research provides the solutions based in the problems identified with the access controls evaluated.

Table I: Evaluation of Access Control

Criteria

TMAC

SAC

Matrix

TBAC

C-TMAC

RBAC

Context-AW

Complexity

Medium

Low

Low

Medium

Medium

Medium

High

Understandability

Simple

Simple

Simple

Simple

Simple

Simple

Simple

Ease Use

High

Low

Medium

Medium

High

High

High

Applicability

Medium

Low

Medium

Medium

High

High

High

Groups of users / Collaboration Support.

Y

Y

Low

Y

Y

Y

Y

Policy- Speci-cation

Y

Y

Low

Low

Y

Y

Y

Policy -Enforcement

Y

Low

Low

Low

Y

Y

Y

Fine-grained control

Y

N

N

Low

Y

Low

Y

Active and passive

Active

Active

Passive

Active

Active

Passive

Active

Contextual information

Medium

Medium

N

Medium

Medium

Low

Medium

Solutions to Access Control Problems

To address the access control security problems, Gauthier, and Merlo, (2012) suggests ACMA (Access Control Model Analyzer) tool, which is an effective information security tool to repair and detect the access control vulnerabilities. The ACMA is anchored on the model checking theory and inter-procedural analysis, which has been proved fast, scalable and precise. The ACMA serves as a model-checking tool to detect access control vulnerabilities, which include forced browsing and faulty access control. The ACMA could achieve comparable result because the tools are 890 times faster. Typically, ACMA could be used to implement access control check on the hidden execution paths in the web application. (Gauthier, and Merlo, 2012). Despite the elegant benefits of ACMA in addressing the access control problems, the system may not deter sophisticated hackers from perpetuating their illegal acts. Sophisticated hackers are no more relying on manual methods of getting access into the information assets; sophisticated hackers now use automated tools to lay their hands onto the company's valuable and sensitive data.

On the other hand, Bullock and Benford (1999) argue that access control model is an effective security tool to manage collaborative environment. The authors recommend effective access control requirements, which include:

Access control must be used to enforce and apply the distributed platform level.

Access control model should be configured to meet the needs of wide varieties enterprises model. Such models must provide the efficient access rights.

Access control should enhance greater scalability than the traditional single user model.

Access control models should be able to protect the greater number of information resources within a shared environment.

Access control model must facilitate transparent access from authorized users and a strong exclusion of unauthorized users.

However, the solutions presented by the authors are purely technical in nature; such perspectives neglect the practice of effective control mechanisms.

This paper proposes a model called Computer-Information Systems Supported Access Control (CSSAC) that does not follow yes or no paradigm commonly used in practice. The CSSAC is structured on the combination of human and technical protection tools, which include:

Awareness

Protection

Negotiation.

Traceability

Restorability

Discussability

Awareness is the pattern of organizational policy where users allowed to have access to information resources need be observed by others in order to create accountability. Awareness does not protect information resources from unauthorized access; however, the technique could be used to restrict users ineffective behaviors that could open door for external aggressors.

Protection is a pattern where organizations safeguard the information resources using regulating access in order to determine the legitimacy of other actors. This technique is an access control tool to protect unauthorized access to information resources. Legitimacy to access control could be controlled using technical methodology. In this system, two different control systems will be used for access control and one for protection while other will be used to grant access.

Negotiability is the technique where the systems are aware of the intended access and develop a channel of communication to control who want to get access.

Traceability is built into the systems to evaluate the illegitimate access to information resources and the systems have ability to alert information system manager that illegal access control is about to happen. Technically, traceability is used as an alert protocol to safeguard the information resources from penetrators before it actually happen.

Restorability is the ability to undo the illegitimate access. The application of this security mechanisms assists in supporting ex-post protection.

Discussability in combination of traceability, which integrates communication channel into the information systems to guide against access to information resources not technically, implemented.

Conclusion

Access control is technically security mechanisms built on authentication. While organizations rely on digital information to make effective decision-making, many organizations still face challenges to protect their information assets from external intruders. Technically, access controls are continuingly being used to safeguard the information assets, despite the benefits derived from access controls, access controls vulnerabilities are still on the increase. This paper explores various types of access controls and their shortcomings. All the access controls indentified have their shortcomings and through these shortcomings, penetrators could often get access to organizational information resources. To address the access control problems, the research suggests Computer-Information Systems Supported Access Control (CSSAC) model to alleviate the common problems identified within the traditional access control systems. This study will address the common challenges that organizations, government and individuals often face in protection of their information resources.

References

Ahn, G.J. & Sandhu, R. (2000). Role-based authorization constraints speci-cation. ACM Trans.

Inf. Syst. Secur. 3(4).

Bullock, a. And Benford, S. (1999). Framework of the Access control for multi-user collaborative environments. In ACM Group. Phoenix, AZ.

Gauthier, F. & Merlo, E.(2012). Fast Detection of Access Control Vulnerabilities in PHP Applications. 2012 19th Working Conference on Reverse Engineering.

Kang, M.H., Park, J.S. And Froscher, J.N. (2001). Access control mechanisms for inter-organizational work-ow. In ACM Symposium on Access Control Model and Technology.

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Stevens, G. & Wuff, V.(2009). Computer-supported access control. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI). 16 (3):12-26.

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