Specifying and Reasoning about Dynamic Access-Control Policies

Daniel J. Dougherty, Kathi Fisler, Shriram Krishnamurthi

International Joint Conference on Automated Reasoning, 2006


Access-control policies have grown from simple matrices to non-trivial specifications written in sophisticated languages. The increasing complexity of these policies demands correspondingly strong automated reasoning techniques for understanding and debugging them. The need for these techniques is even more pressing given the rich and dynamic nature of the environments in which these policies evaluate. We define a framework to represent the behavior of access-control policies in a dynamic environment. We then specify several interesting, decidable analyses using first-order temporal logic. Our work illustrates the subtle interplay between logical and state-based methods, particularly in the presence of three-valued policies. We also define a notion of policy equivalence that is especially useful for modular reasoning.


Please also see our older work, which provides strong tool support for a much more limited logic.



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