Sharing of information is fundamental to modern computing environments across many application domains. Such information sharing, however, raises security and privacy concerns that require effective access control to prevent unauthorized access and ensure compliance with various laws and regulations. Current approaches such as Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), and Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) and their variants are inadequate. Although it provides simple administration of access control and user revocation and permission review, RBAC demands complex initial role engineering and makes access control static. ABAC, on the other hand, simplifies initial security setup and enables flexible access control, but increases the complexity of managing privileges, user revocation and user permissions review. These limitations of RBAC and ABAC have thus motivated research into the development of newer models that use attributes and policies while preserving RBAC's advantages.
This dissertation explores the role of attributes---characteristics of entities in the system---in achieving effective access control. The first contribution of this dissertation is the design and development of a secure access system using Ciphertext-Policy Attribute-Based Encryption (CP-ABE). The second contribution is the design and validation of a two-step access control approach, the BiLayer Access Control (BLAC) model. The first layer in BLAC checks whether subjects making access requests have the right BLAC pseudoroles---a pseudorole is a predefined subset of a subject's static attributes. If requesting subjects hold the right pseudoroles, the second layer checks rule(s) within associated BLAC policies for further constraints on access. BLAC thus makes use of attributes effectively while preserving RBAC's advantages. The dissertation's third contribution is the design and definition of an evaluation framework for time complexity analysis, and uses this framework to compare BLAC model with RBAC and ABAC. The fourth contribution is the design and construction of a generic access control threat model, and applying it to assess the effectiveness of BLAC, RBAC and ABAC in mitigating insider threats.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Computer networks--Access control; Computer security
Computing and Information Sciences (Ph.D.)
Department, Program, or Center
Computer Science (GCCIS)
Rajendra K. Raj
Stanisław P. Radziszowski
Alshehri, Suhair, "Toward Effective Access Control Using Attributes and Pseudoroles" (2014). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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