On risk in access control enforcement

Giuseppe Petracca, Frank Capobianco, Christian Skalka, Trent Jaeger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


While we have long had principles describing how access control enforcement should be implemented, such as the reference monitor concept, imprecision in access control mechanisms and access control policies leads to risks that may enable exploitation. In practice, least privilege access control policies often allow information flows that may enable exploits. In addition, the implementation of access control mechanisms often tries to balance security with ease of use implicitly (e.g., with respect to determining where to place authorization hooks) and approaches to tighten access control, such as accounting for program context, are ad hoc. In this paper, we define four types of risks in access control enforcement and explore possible approaches and challenges in tracking those types of risks. In principle, we advocate runtime tracking to produce risk estimates for each of these types of risk. To better understand the potential of risk estimation for authorization, we propose risk estimate functions for each of the four types of risk, finding that benign program deployments accumulate risks in each of the four areas for ten Android programs examined. As a result, we find that tracking of relative risk may be useful for guiding changes to security choices, such as authorized unsafe operations or placement of authorization checks, when risk differs from that expected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSACMAT 2017 - Proceedings of the 22nd ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450347020
StatePublished - Jun 7 2017
Event22nd ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies, SACMAT 2017 - Indianapolis, United States
Duration: Jun 21 2017Jun 23 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies, SACMAT
VolumePart F128644


Other22nd ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies, SACMAT 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Information Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'On risk in access control enforcement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this