Visible to the public Presentation 9. Attribute assurance for attribute based access control

TitlePresentation 9. Attribute assurance for attribute based access control
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsFriedman, A., Hu, V.C.
Conference NameIT Professional Conference (IT Pro), 2014
Date PublishedMay
KeywordsABAC, Access Control, access management, AP, attribute assurance, attribute based access control, attribute confidentiality, attribute integrity, attribute provider, attribute repositories, attribute retrieval, attribute update, attribute-based authorization, authorisation, Communities, critical assets protection, Department of Defense and Intelligence Community, Educational institutions, environmental attributes, ICPG, Intelligence Community Policy Guidance, interoperability, level of attribute assurance, LOAA, National security, NIST, object attributes, open systems, subject attributes

In recent years, Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) has evolved as the preferred logical access control methodology in the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community, as well as many other agencies across the federal government. Gartner recently predicted that "by 2020, 70% of enterprises will use attribute-based access control (ABAC) as the dominant mechanism to protect critical assets, up from less that 5% today." A definition and introduction to ABAC can be found in NIST Special Publication 800-162, Guide to Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) Definition and Considerations and Intelligence Community Policy Guidance (ICPG) 500.2, Attribute-Based Authorization and Access Management. Within ABAC, attributes are used to make critical access control decisions, yet standards for attribute assurance have just started to be researched and documented. This presentation outlines factors influencing attributes that an authoritative body must address when standardizing attribute assurance and proposes some notional implementation suggestions for consideration. Attribute Assurance brings a level of confidence to attributes that is similar to levels of assurance for authentication (e.g., guidelines specified in NIST SP 800-63 and OMB M-04-04). There are three principal areas of interest when considering factors related to Attribute Assurance. Accuracy establishes the policy and technical underpinnings for semantically and syntactically correct descriptions of Subjects, Objects, or Environmental conditions. Interoperability considers different standards and protocols used for secure sharing of attributes between systems in order to avoid compromising the integrity and confidentiality of the attributes or exposing vulnerabilities in provider or relying systems or entities. Availability ensures that the update and retrieval of attributes satisfy the application to which the ABAC system is applied. In addition, the security and backup capability of attribute repositories need to be considered. Similar to a Level of Assurance (LOA), a Level of Attribute Assurance (LOAA) assures a relying party that the attribute value received from an Attribute Provider (AP) is accurately associated with the subject, resource, or environmental condition to which it applies. An Attribute Provider (AP) is any person or system that provides subject, object (or resource), or environmental attributes to relying parties regardless of transmission method. The AP may be the original, authoritative source (e.g., an Applicant). The AP may also receive information from an authoritative source for repacking or store-and-forward (e.g., an employee database) to relying parties or they may derive the attributes from formulas (e.g., a credit score). Regardless of the source of the AP's attributes, the same standards should apply to determining the LOAA. As ABAC is implemented throughout government, attribute assurance will be a critical, limiting factor in its acceptance. With this presentation, we hope to encourage dialog between attribute relying parties, attribute providers, and federal agencies that will be defining standards for ABAC in the immediate future.

Citation Key7029296