Authorization in workflow systems is usually built on top of role-based access control (RBAC); security policies on workflows are then expressed as constraints on the users performing a set of tasks and the roles assigned to them. Unfortunately, when role administration is distributed and potentially untrusted users contribute to the role assignment process, like in the case of Administrative RBAC (ARBAC), collusions may take place to circumvent the intended workflow security policies. In a collusion attack, a set of users of a workflow system collaborates by changing the user-to-role assignment, so as to sidestep the security policies and run up to completion a workflow they could not complete otherwise.In this paper, we study the problem of collusion attacks in a formal model of workflows based on stable event structures and we define a precise notion of security against collusion. We then propose a static analysis technique based on a reduction to a role reachability problem for ARBAC, which can be used to prove or disprove security for a large class of workflow systems. We also discuss how to aggressively optimise the obtained role reachability problem to ensure its tractability. Finally, we implement our analysis in a tool, WARBAC, and we experimentally show its effectiveness on a set of publicly available examples, including a realistic case study.

Static Detection of Collusion Attacks in ARBAC-based Workflow Systems

CALZAVARA, STEFANO;Rabitti, Alvise;Steffinlongo, Enrico;BUGLIESI, Michele
2016

Abstract

Authorization in workflow systems is usually built on top of role-based access control (RBAC); security policies on workflows are then expressed as constraints on the users performing a set of tasks and the roles assigned to them. Unfortunately, when role administration is distributed and potentially untrusted users contribute to the role assignment process, like in the case of Administrative RBAC (ARBAC), collusions may take place to circumvent the intended workflow security policies. In a collusion attack, a set of users of a workflow system collaborates by changing the user-to-role assignment, so as to sidestep the security policies and run up to completion a workflow they could not complete otherwise.In this paper, we study the problem of collusion attacks in a formal model of workflows based on stable event structures and we define a precise notion of security against collusion. We then propose a static analysis technique based on a reduction to a role reachability problem for ARBAC, which can be used to prove or disprove security for a large class of workflow systems. We also discuss how to aggressively optimise the obtained role reachability problem to ensure its tractability. Finally, we implement our analysis in a tool, WARBAC, and we experimentally show its effectiveness on a set of publicly available examples, including a realistic case study.
Proceedings - IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3685120
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