Cross-Domain Data Dissemination And Policy Enforcement
Tech report number
CERIAS TR 2015-19
Modern information systems are distributed and highly dynamic. They comprise a number of hosts from heterogeneous domains, which collaborate, interact, and share data to handle client requests. Examples include cloud-hosted solutions, service-oriented architectures, electronic healthcare systems, product lifecycle management systems, and so on. A client request translates into multiple internal interactions involving different parties; each party can access and further share the client’s data. However, such interactions may share data with unauthorized parties and violate the client’s disclosure policies. In this case, the client has no knowledge of or control over interactions beyond its trust domain; therefore, the client has no means of detecting violations. Opaque data sharing in such distributed systems introduces new security challenges not present in the traditional systems. Existing solutions provide point-to-point secure data transmission and ensure security within a single domain, but are insufficient for distributed data dissemination because of the involvement of multiple cross-domain parties.
This dissertation addresses the problem of policy-based distributed data dissemination (PD3) and proposes a data-centric solution for end-to-end secure data disclosure in distributed interactions. The solution ensures that the data are distributed along with the policies that dictate data access and an execution monitor (a policy evaluation and enforcement mechanism) that controls data disclosure and protects data dissemination throughout the interaction lifecycle. It empowers data owners with control of data disclosure decisions outside their trust domains and reduces the risk of unauthorized access.
This dissertation makes the following contributions. First, it presents a formal description of the PD3 problem and identifies the main requirements for a new solution. Second, it introduces EPICS, an extensible framework for enforcing policies in composite web services, and describes its design, implementation, and evaluation. Third, it demonstrates a novel application of the proposed solution to address privacy and identity management in cloud computing.
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