Abstract: There is a recent trend toward rule-based authorization systems to achieve flexible security policies. Also, new sensing technologies in pervasive computing make it possible to define context-sensitive rules, such as ``allow database access only to staff who are currently located in the main office.'' However, these rules, or the facts that are needed to verify authority, often involve sensitive context information. This paper presents a secure context-sensitive authorization system that protects confidential information in facts or rules. Furthermore, our system allows multiple hosts in a distributed environment to perform the evaluation of an authorization query in a collaborative way; we do not need a universally trusted central host that maintains all the context information. The core of our approach is to decompose a proof for making an authorization decision into a set of sub-proofs produced on multiple different hosts, while preserving the integrity and confidentiality policies of the mutually untrusted principals operating these hosts.
Keywords: mobile computing, ubicomp, security, privacy, distributed computing
Copyright © 2005 by IEEE.The copy made available here is the authors' version; for a definitive copy see the publisher's version described above.
See also later version minami:csa-tr.