Delegation framework for federated systems

Pham, Quan (2010) Delegation framework for federated systems. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


It is not uncommon for enterprises today to be faced with the demand to integrate and incor- porate many different and possibly heterogeneous systems which are generally independently designed and developed, to allow seamless access. In effect, the integration of these systems results in one large whole system that must be able, at the same time, to maintain the local autonomy and to continue working as an independent entity. This problem has introduced a new distributed architecture called federated systems. The most challenging issue in federated systems is to find answers for the question of how to efficiently cooperate while preserving their autonomous characteristic, especially the security autonomy. This thesis intends to address this issue. The thesis reviews the evolution of the concept of federated systems and discusses the organisational characteristics as well as remaining security issues with the existing approaches. The thesis examines how delegation can be used as means to achieve better security, especially authorisation while maintaining autonomy for the participating member of the federation. A delegation taxonomy is proposed as one of the main contributions. The major contribution of this thesis is to study and design a mechanism to support dele- gation within and between multiple security domains with constraint management capability. A novel delegation framework is proposed including two modules: Delegation Constraint Man- agement module and Policy Management module. The first module is designed to effectively create, track and manage delegation constraints, especially for delegation processes which require re-delegation (indirect delegation). The first module employs two algorithms to trace the root authority of a delegation constraint chain and to prevent the potential conflict when creating a delegation constraint chain if necessary. The first module is designed for conflict prevention not conflict resolution. The second module is designed to support the first module via the policy comparison capability. The major function of this module is to provide the delegation framework the capability to compare policies and constraints (written under the format of a policy). The module is an extension of Lin et al.'s work on policy filtering and policy analysis. Throughout the thesis, some case studies are used as examples to illustrate the discussed concepts. These two modules are designed to capture one of the most important aspects of the delegation process: the relationships between the delegation transactions and the involved constraints, which are not very well addressed by the existing approaches. This contribution is significant because the relationships provide information to keep track and en- force the involved delegation constraints and, therefore, play a vital role in maintaining and enforcing security for transactions across multiple security domains.

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ID Code: 48880
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: McCullagh, Adrian, Dawson, Edward, & Reid, Jason
Keywords: federated system, distributed system, system security, access control, delegation, constraint management, conflict prevention, policy management, policy relatedness, policy similarity, policy dissimilarity, light-weight policy filtering, and XACML
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Institutes > Information Security Institute
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 28 Feb 2012 03:12
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2012 03:14

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