INTERNET-DRAFT                        Tatyana Ryutov
CAT Working Group                     Clifford Neuman
Expires May 1999                      USC/Information Sciences Institute                     
draft-ietf-cat-acc-cntrl-frmw-01.txt  November 17, 1998                
                                            


Access Control Framework for Distributed Applications

0. Status Of this Document This document is an Internet-Draft. Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups. Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in progress." To view the entire list of current Internet-Drafts, please check the "1id-abstracts.txt" listing contained in the Internet-Drafts Shadow Directories on ftp.is.co.za (Africa), ftp.nordu.net (Northern Europe), ftp.nis.garr.it (Southern Europe), munnari.oz.au (Pacific Rim), ftp.ietf.org (US East Coast), or ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast). 1. Abstract This document describes a unified model to support authorization in a wide range of applications, including metacomputing, remote printing, video conference, and any other application which will require interactions between entities across autonomous security domains. The document proposes requirements for the support of: - flexible and expressive mechanism for representing and evaluating security policies - uniform authorization service interface for facilitating access control decisions for applications and requesting access control information about a particular resource. This specification defines structures and their uses at a level independent of underlying mechanism and programming language environment. This document is accompanied by a second one describing the details of proposed structures and services along with bindings for C language environments. This document is to be found in draft-ietf-cat-gaa-cbind-01.txt. 2. Introduction The variety of services available on the Internet continues to increase and new classes of applications such as metacomputing, remote printing, video conference are evolving. These applications will require interactions between entities across autonomous security domains. The distributed nature of the system, consisting of mutually suspicious security domains, requires a mechanism, which provides fine-grained access control to resources. For example, access control requirements of a remote printing application may include: - authorized individual users and organizations - time availability, e.g. time of the day or day of the week - restrictions on resources consumed by the clients, e.g. maximum job size, maximum number of pages per job - required confidentiality/integrity message protection - accounting for consumed resources Access control requirements of large-scale multicast application [4], e.g. corporate video conference may include: - authorized individual users and organizations - host properties; users on slow hosts or hosts running the wrong OS will be denied communication - accounting for consumed resources Some of the security requirements are common across different applications, while others are more individual. Access control policies can be formulated in many ways. Administrators Of each domain might use domain-specific policy syntax and heterogeneous implementations of the policies. It is necessary to define a particular framework applicable for a wide range of systems and applications, which will allow to discuss specific requirements for the representation and evaluation of security policies. The focus of this framework is based on the following two abstractions: 1) uniform mechanism for representation and evaluation of security policies It should be capable of implementing a number of different security policies, based on diverse authorization models, which can coexist in distributed system. Standardizing the way that applications define their security requirements provides the means for integration of local and distributed security policies and translation of security policies across multiple authorization models. The mechanism should support the common authorization requirements but provide the means to defining and integration with application or organization specific policies as well. Applications should not need to re-implement the basic authorization functions in an application-specific manner. 2) Generic Authorization and Access control Application Program Interface (GAA API) A common API will facilitate authorization decisions for applications. An application invokes the API functions to determine if a requested operation or set of operation are authorized or if additional checks are necessary. The API will support the needs of most applications, thus not forcing the developers to design their own authorization mechanisms. The API will allow better integration of multiple mechanisms with application servers. The GSS API can be used by the GAA API to obtain principal's identity see section 11. Section 12 gives an extended example how the GAA API can be used by applications. 3. Glossary OBJECT (RESOURCE) entity that has to be protected e.g. hosts, files. SUBJECT entity that can initiate requests to an object e.g. individual users, hosts, applications and groups. PRINCIPAL identity associated with a subject as a result of some unspecified authentication protocol. It can refer to a person, group, host, and application. Several principals can be associated with the same subject. SECURITY POLICY the set of rules that govern access to objects ACCESS RIGHT (OPERATION, PERMISSION) a particular type of access to a protected object e.g. read, write, and execute RESTRICTION (CONDITION) a specific policy allowing an operation to be performed on an object This policy can have two meanings: 1) descriptive An operation is allowed if certain condition is satisfied. For instance, a policy may require concurrence of two principals to perform some operation. If participation of both principals can be proved then this policy is satisfied. 2) prescriptive An operation will be allowed if certain restrictive policy is enforced. For example, a process will be authorized to run on a host if the memory usage limits that a process can occupy in main memory satisfies certain constraints. Continuous evaluation of restriction is required. DELEGATION is the ability of a principal to give to another principal limited authority to act on it's behalf. CREDENTIAL a statement of identity, group membership and non-membership, privilege attribute and transfer of privilege encoded in certificates. 4. Architecture The major components of the architecture are: Authentication mechanisms (perhaps involving an authentication server) perform authentication of users and supply them with initial credentials. A group server is trusted to maintain and provide group membership information. A group is a convenient method to associate a name with a set of principals for access control purposes. A group server issues group membership and non-membership certificates. When a connection is established with an application server, these certificates are evaluated (evaluation may be deferred until needed) the results are placed into the GAA API security context. They are checked by the GAA API when making authorization decisions. The application calls the GAA API routines to check authorization against the application authorization model. These routines obtain access control information from local files, distributed authorization servers, and from credentials provided by the user, combining local and distributed authorizations under a single API according to the requirements of the application. Delegation is supported through inclusion of delegated credentials. Mechanism for delegation such as those supported by restricted proxies [1] in the security context, where they are available for use by authentication and authorization mechanisms used for subsequent connections from the server (now acting as an intermediary) to another server. 5. Objects The purpose of access control is protecting objects from unauthorized access. The kinds of objects to be protected are specific to the application to which the authorization model is applied and are not included into the authorization model. The objects that need to be protected include files, directories, network connections, hosts, auxiliary devices, e.g. printers and faxes, and other entities. An authorization mechanism should support these different kinds of objects in a uniform manner. Same security attribute structure should be used to specify access policies for different kinds of objects. Object names should be drawn from the application-specific name space and must be opaque to the authorization mechanism. 6. Security attributes 6.1. Security policy representation One may think about security policy associated with an object, as of a set of operations which a defined set of principals is allowed to perform on the targeted object, and optional constraints placed on the granted operations. For example, the following security policy can govern access to a printer: "Joe Smith and members of the Department1 are allowed to print documents Monday through Friday from 9:00AM to 6:00PM". Therefore, in implementing a policy, it is necessary to have a means for defining the following security attributes, the policy consists of: a set of authorized principals, a set of allowed operations and a set of restrictions. 6.2. Security attribute format We adopt the security attribute format, described in [6]. A security attribute is defined as: ------------------------------------------------------ | Attribute Type | Defining Authority | Value | ------------------------------------------------------ Attribute Type Defines the type of the attribute. Attributes of the same type have the same authorization semantics. Defining Authority It indicates the authority responsible for defining the value within the attribute type. Value The value of the security attribute. Its syntax is determined by the attribute type. The name space for the value is defined by the Defining Authority field 6.3. Security attributes: Access identity The access identity represents an identity to be used for access control purposes. The authorization framework should support the following kinds of access identity: 1) USER identifies a person, e.g. authenticated user name. 2) HOST identifies a subject as a machine from which request to access the object was originated, e.g., an IP address or host DNS name or host public key. 3) APPLICATION identifies a certain program that has its own associated identity (principal),e.g., a checksum or certified name. This can be useful to grant access to a certain application, e.g. payment program, that is trusted to be written correctly and perform only it's intended purpose. 4) GROUP identifies a group of subjects. The kind of subjects (individual user, host or application) composing the group is opaque to the authorization mechanism. 5) ANYBODY represents any subject regardless of authentication. This may be useful for setting the default policies. The framework should support multiple existing principal naming methods. Different administrative domains might use different authentication mechanisms, each having a particular syntax for specification of principals. For example, an application may use Kerberos V5 as an authentication service. Kerberos V5 provides secret-key based authentication and the format of the Kerberos V5 principal name is user_name/instance@realm. Other domains may use DCE to obtain the user's identity credentials, usually identified by a User ID and Group ID. Another domain might use client authentication in SSL, based on public-key cryptography, where principals are identified by a global name, syntactically tied to the X.500 directory. Therefore, Defining Authority for access identity indicates underlying authentication mechanism used to provide the principal identity. Value represents particular principal identity. Examples of access identities are: Attribute Type: access_identity_ANYBODY Defining Authority: none Value: none Attribute Type: access_identity_HOST Defining Authority: IPaddress Value: 164.67.21.82 Attribute Type: access_identity_GROUP Defining Authority: DCE Value: 15 Attribute Type: access_identity_APPLICATION Defining Authority: checksum Value: 123x56 6.4. Security attributes: Grantor identity The grantor identity represents an identity used to specify the grantor of a capability or a delegated credential. Its structure is similar to the one of the access identity described in the previous subsection. Example: Attribute Type: grantor_identity_USER Defining Authority: kerberos.V5 Value: kot@ISI.EDU 6.5. Security Attributes: Access rights The access rights attribute represents granted access rights. Defining Authority represents application or local manager responsible for defining the value field. The proposed framework should support different types of access rights. All operations defined on an object are grouped by the type of access to the object they represent, and named using a tag. For a file the following operations are defined: FILE : read FILE : write FILE : execute However, in a bank application, an object might also be a customer account, and the following set of operation might be defined: ACCOUNT : deposit ACCOUNT : withdraw ACCOUNT : transfer Access rights names are from application-specific name space and opaque to the authorization mechanism. Internally a tagged bit vector represents access rights. Each bit in the vector corresponds to an access right. Value consists of tag and a bit vector. The tag indicates how the bits in the bit vector are to be interpreted, for example, for the set of rights, associated with the tag FILE the first bit should be interpreted as read, while for the set associated with tag ACCOUNT, the same bit should be interpreted as deposit. Example: Attribute Type: access_rights Defining Authority: payment_application Value: ACCOUNT:010...0 6.6. Security Attributes: Conditions The conditions specify the type-specific policies under which an operation can be performed on an object. Conditions can be categorized as generic or specific. A condition is generic if it is evaluated by the access control model. Specific conditions are application-dependent and usually evaluated by the application. 6.6.1. Security Attributes: Generic conditions The following list of generic conditions should not be considered exhaustive. a) time Time periods for which access is granted, e.g. time of day or day of the week b) location Location of the principal. Authorization is granted to the principals residing in specific hosts or domains. c) message protection constraints 1) required confidentiality message protection This condition specifies a mechanism, or a set of mechanisms to be used in confidentiality message protection. 2) required integrity message protection This condition specifies a mechanism, or a set of mechanisms to be used in integrity message protection. d) privilege constraints In general, a principal may belong to more than one group. By default, principal operates with the union of privileges of all groups to which it belongs, as well as all of his individual privileges. In assigning privileges, one can choose to: 1) have the subject operate with the privilege of only one group at a time. This can be used to reduce privileges as a protection against accidents. E.g. a person is a member of two groups: PROGRAMMERS and SYSTEM_MANAGERS. The person may act with the privileges of the group PROGRAMMERS most of the time, and enable privileges of the SYSTEM_MANAGERS group only on occasion. 2) have the subject operate with privileges of several specified groups at a time 3) endorsement Concurrence of several principals to perform some operation. e) multi-level security constraints f) payment Specifies currency and amount that must be paid prior access to an object will be granted. g) quota Specifies a currency and a limit. It limits the quantity of a resource that can be consumed or obtained. h) strength of authentication Specifies the authentication mechanism or a set of suitable mechanisms, used to authenticate a user. i) attributes of subjects This class of conditions defines a set of attributes that must be possessed by subjects in order to get access to the object, e.g. security label. Example: Attribute Type: time_window Defining Authority: none Value: 8:00AM-6:00PM 6.6.2. Security Attributes: Application-specific conditions If generic conditions are not sufficient for expressing application-specific security policies, applications specify their own conditions. Anything that can be expressed as type:value alphanumeric string can be a condition. The application must provide a means for evaluation of the application-specific conditions. Attribute Type: printer_load Defining Authority: PrinterManager Value: 10 7. Capabilities and ACLs Proposed security attributes allow to implement both capabilities and ACLs. For example, the following sequence of security attributes implements an ACL, stating that anyone authenticated by Kerberos.V5 has read access to the targeted object (assume that first bit corresponds to read and the second one to write) and any member of group 15 connecting from the USC.EDU domain has read and write access to the object. Attribute Type: access_identity_ANYBODY Defining Authority: none Value: none Attribute Type: access_rights Defining Authority: local_manager Value: FILE:100...0 Attribute Type: strength_of_authentication Defining Authority: none Value: kerberos.V5 Attribute Type: access_identity_GROUP Defining Authority: DCE Value: 15 Attribute Type: access_rights Defining Authority: local_manager Value: FILE:110...0 Attribute Type: location Defining Authority: none Value: *.USC.EDU The following sequence of security attributes implements a capability, stating that the capability granted by the group "admin" grants read access if the capability is presented during the specified time period. Attribute Type: grantor_identity_GROUP Defining Authority: admin@usc.edu Value: kerberos.V5 Attribute Type: access_rights Defining Authority: local_manager Value: FILE:100...0 Attribute Type: time_window Defining Authority: none Value: 8:00AM-5:00PM 8. Ordering Issues The order in which security attributes are appearing is very important for correctly interpreting the intended security policy. It is not clear if interpretation of security attribute ordering should be included in the draft or left as an implementation issue. 9. Security context The security context is a GAA API data structure, which is passed as an argument to the GAA API. It stores information relevant to access control policy, e.g. authentication and authorization credentials presented or used by the peer entity (usually the client of the request), connection state information. The context consists of: 1) Identity Verified authentication information, such as principal name for a particular security mechanism. 2) Authorized credentials This type of credentials is used to hold delegated credentials and capabilities. 3) Group membership This type of credentials specifies that the grantee is a member of only the listed groups. 4) Group non-membership This type of credentials specifies that the grantee is NOT a member of the listed groups. 5) Attributes This type of credentials contains miscellaneous attributes attached to the grantee, e.g. age of the grantee, grantee's security clearance. 6) Unevaluated Credentials Evaluation of the acquired credentials can be deferred till the credential is needed to perform the operation. 7) Evaluation and Retrieval Functions for Upcalls These functions are called to evaluate application-specific conditions, to request additional credentials and verify them. The GSS API is an example of how this can be filled in. 8) Connection State Information Contains a mechanism-specific representation of per-connection context, some of the data stored here include keyblocks, addresses. 10. Generic Authorization and Access API The GAA API is built into applications through a library. It is used by applications to decide whether a subject is authorized to perform particular operations on an object. In this section we provide a brief description of the main GAA API routines. 10.1. GAA API functions The gaa_get_object_policy_info function is called to obtain security policy information associated with the object. In the ACL-based systems, this information represents object ACLs, in the capability-based systems, this information may contain a list of authorities allowed to grant capabilities. If no security information is attached to the object, then this function can be ommited. Input: o Reference to the object to be accessed The identifier for the object is from an application-dependent name space, it can be represented as unique object identifier, or symbolic name local to the application. o Pointer to the application-specific authorization database o Upcall function for the retrieval of the object authorization information. The application maintains authorization information in a form understood by the application. It can be stored in a file, database, directory service or in some other way. The upcall function provided for the GAA API retrieves this information. Output: o Mechanism-specific status code o A handle to the sequence of security attributes which constitute the security policy associated with the targeted object. The gaa_check_authorization function tells the application server whether the requested operation or a set of operations is authorized, or if additional checks are required. Input: o A handle to the sequence of security attributes, returned by the gaa_get_object_policy_info o Principal's security context o Operations for authorization It indicates operations to be performed. o GAA API options structure This argument describes the behavior of the GAA API and specifies how the other arguments should be interpreted. Output: YES (indicating authorization) is returned if all requested operations are authorized. NO (indicating denial of authorization) is returned if at least one operation is not authorized. MAYBE (indicating a need for additional checks) is returned if there are some unevaluated conditions and additional application-specific checks are needed, or continuous evaluation is required. o Mechanism-specific status code o Detailed answer Detailed answer contains: o Authorization valid time period. The time period during which the authorization is granted is returned as condition to be checked by the application. Expiration time is calculated based on time-related restrictions expressed by the security attributes and restrictions in the authentication, authorization and delegated credentials. o The requested operations are returned marked as granted or denied along with a list of corresponding conditions, if any. Each condition is marked as evaluated or not evaluated, if evaluated marked as met, not met or further evaluation or enforcement is required. This tells application which policies must be enforced. o Information about additional security attributes required. Additional credentials might be required from clients to perform certain operations, e.g. group membership or delegated credentials. The application must understand the conditions that are returned unevaluated or it must reject the request. If understood, the application checks the conditions against information about the request, the target object, or environmental conditions to determine whether the conditions are met. Enforcement of the returned conditions is up to the application. gaa_inquire_object_policy_info function allows application to discover access control policies associated with the target object. Input: o A handle to the sequence of security attributes, returned by gaa_get_object_policy_info o Principal's security context Output: o A list of authorized rights and corresponding conditions, if any, is returned. 11. Creation of the GAA API security context Prior to calling the gaa_check_authorization function, the application must obtain the authenticated principal's identity and store it in the security context. This context may be constructed from credentials obtained from different mechanisms, e.g. GSS API, Kerberos or others. This scenario places a heavy burden on the application programmer to provide the integration of the security mechanism with the application. A second scenario is to obtain the authentication credentials from a transport protocol that already has the security context integrated with it. For example, the application can call SSL or authenticated RPC. In this case, it is the implementation of the ransport mechanism (usually written by someone other than the application programmer) which calls the security API requesting principal's identity, and which constructs the security context. The principal's authentication information is placed into the security context and is passed to the GAA API. When additional security attributes are required for the requested operation, the list of required attributes is returned to be obtained by the application. The application may provide GAA API with an upcall function for requesting required additional credentials. The credentials pulled by the GAA API are verified and added to the security context by the upcall function. A reference to the upcall function is passed to the GAA API as part of the security context, and it added to the security context by the application or transport. 12. Extended example: simple Printer Manager application To illustrate how the GAA API is used by application servers we describe a simple Printer Manager application, where protected objects are printers. The Printer Manager accepts requests from users to access printers and invokes the GAA API routines to make authorization decisions, under the assumption that the administrator of the resources has specified the local policy regarding the use of the resources by means of ACL files. These files are stored in an Authorization Database, maintained by the Printer Manager. 12.1 Conditions Administrators will be more willing to grant access to the printers if they can restrict the access to the resources to users or organizations they trust. Further, the administrators should be able to specify time availability, restrictions on resources consumed by the clients and accounting for the consumed resources. To specify these limits, the Printer Manager uses generic conditions, such as time, location, payment and quota. An example of Printer Manager-specific condition: printer load, expressed as maximum number of jobs that allowed to be submitted to a printer. 12.2 Authorization walk-through Here we present an authorization scenario to demonstrate the use of the authorization framework for the case of printing a document. Assume Kerberos V5 is used for principal authentication. Assume that printer A has an ACL stored in the Printer Manager authorization database. Let's consider a request from user Tom who is connecting from the ORG.EDU domain to print a document on the printer A at 7:30 PM. When a client process running on behalf of the user "Tom" contacts the Printer Manager with the request to submit_print_job (which is indicated by setting the appropriate bit in the bit vector) to printer A, the Printer Manager first calls the gaa_get_object_policy_info function to obtain a sequence of security attributes representing the security policy expressed in the ACL for the printer A. The upcall function for retrieving the sequence is passed to the GAA API and is being called by the gaa_get_object_policy_info, which returns the sequence. Assume that the following sequence was returned: ----------------------------------------- corresponds to the first ACL entry Attribute Type: access_identity_USER Defining Authority: kerberos.V5 Value: tom@ORG.EDU Attribute Type: access_rights Defining Authority: PrinterManager Value: PRINTER:100...0 <- corresponds to submit_print_job operation Attribute Type: time_window Defining Authority: none Value: 8:00AM-8:00PM Attribute Type: printer_load Defining Authority: PrinterManager Value: 20 ----------------------------------------- corresponds to the second ACL entry Attribute Type: access_identity_ANYBODY Defining Authority: none Value: none Attribute Type: access rights Defining Authority: PrinterManager Value: PRINTER:010...0 <- corresponds to view_printer_capabilities The Printer Manager must place the principal's authenticated identity in the security context to pass it to the gaa_check_authorization function. This context may be constructed according to the first or second scenario, described in section 11. If Tom is authenticated successfully, then verified identity credentials are placed into the security context, specifying Tom as the Kerberos principal tom@ORG.EDU. Then the Printer Manager calls the gaa_check_authorization function. In evaluating the security attribute sequence. The set, corresponding to the first entry applies. It grants the requested operation, but there two conditions that must be evaluated. The first condition time_window : 8AM-8PM is generic and is evaluated directly by the GAA API. Since, the request was issued at 7:30 PM this condition is satisfied. The second condition printer_load : 20 is specific. If the security context defined a condition evaluation function for upcall, then this function is invoked and if this condition is met then the final answer is YES (authorized) and the detailed answer contains: Authorization expiration time : 8PM (assume that authentication credential has expiration time 9PM). Allowed operations: submit_print_job List of conditions: time_window : 8AM-8PM printer_load : 20 Both conditions are marked as evaluated and met. During the execution of the task the Printer Manager is enforcing the limits imposed on the local resources and authorization time. If the corresponding upcall function was not passed to the GAA API, the answer is MAYBE and the second condition is marked as not evaluated and must be checked by the Printer Manager. When additional credential is needed, then if the security context defines a credential retrieval function for upcall, then this function is invoked. If the requested credential is obtained, then the final answer is YES. If the upcall function was not passed to the GAA API, the answer is NO. 13. References [1] B.C. Neuman. Proxy-based authorization and accounting for distributed systems. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, Pittsburgh, May 1993. [2] B.C. Neuman and Theodore Ts'o. Kerberos: An authentication service for computer networks. IEEE Communications Magazine, pages 33-38, September 1994 [3] M. Blaze, J. Feigenbaum and J. Lacy. Decentralized Trust Management. in Proc. IEEE Symp. on Security and Privacy, IEEE Computer Press, Los Angeles, pages 164-173, 1996. [4] Large Scale Multicast Applications (lsma) working group. Taxonomy of Communication Requirements for Large-scale Multicast Applications. Internet draft. [5] Department of Defence National Computer Security Center. Department of Defence Trusted Computer system Evaluation Criteria, December 1985. DoD 5200.28-STD [6] Tom Parker and Denis Pinkas. Extended Generic Security Service APIs: XGSS-APIs Access control and delegation extensions Internet-Draft IETF Common Authentication Technology WG 14. Acknowledgments Denis Pinkas, Gene Tsudik, Brian Tung, Bapa Rao, Ilia Ovsiannikov and the Xerox IS team have contributed to discussion of ideas and material in this draft. 15. Authors' Addresses Tatyana Ryutov Clifford Neuman USC/Information Sciences Institute 4676 Admiralty Way Suite 1001 Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695 Phone: +1 310 822 1511 E-Mail: {tryutov, bcn}@isi.edu