Privacy Preserving Enforcement of Sensitive Policies in Outsourced and Distributed Environments

Muhammad Rizwan Asghar

The enforcement of sensitive policies in untrusted environments is still an open challenge for policy-based systems. On the one hand, taking any appropriate security decision requires access to these policies. On the other hand, if such access is allowed in an untrusted environment then confidential information might be leaked by the policies. The key challenge is how to enforce sensitive policies and protect content in untrusted environments. In the context of untrusted environments, we mainly distinguish between outsourced and distributed environments. The most attractive paradigms concerning outsourced and distributed environments are cloud computing and opportunistic networks, respectively. In this dissertation, we present the design, technical and implementation details of our proposed policy-based access control mechanisms for untrusted environments. First of all, we provide full confidentiality of access policies in outsourced environments, where service providers do not learn private information about policies. We support expressive policies and take into account contextual information. The system entities do not share any encryption keys. For complex user management, we offer the full-fledged Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) policies. In opportunistic networks, we protect content by specifying expressive policies. In our proposed approach, brokers match subscriptions against policies associated with content without compromising privacy of subscribers. As a result, unauthorised brokers neither gain access to content nor learn policies and authorised nodes gain access only if they satisfy policies specified by publishers. Our proposed system provides scalable key management in which loosely-coupled publishers and subscribers communicate without any prior contact. Finally, we have developed a prototype of the system that runs on real smartphones and analysed its performance.

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