Implementation Of Database Security Features Using Bit Matrices
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Information security is of utmost concern in a multiuser environment. The importance of security is felt much more with the widespread use of distributed database. Information is by itself a critical resource of an enterprise and thus the successful operation of an enterprise demands that data be made accessible only by authorized users and that the data be made to reflect the state of the enterprise. Since many databases are online, accessed by multiple users concurrently, special mechanisms are needed to insure integrity and security of relevant information, This thesis describes a model for computer database security that supports a wide variety of security policies. The terms security policies and security mechanism are presented in Chapter I. The interrelated topics of security and integrity are discussed in some detail. The importance and means of insuring security of information is also presented in this chapter. In Chapter 2, the work done In the field of Computer Security and related topic has been presented. In general computer security models could be classified broadly under the two categories. (1) Models based on Access Control Matrix and (2) Models based on Information Flow Control. The development of the models baaed on the above two schemes as also the policies supported by some of the schemes are presented in this chapter. A brief description of the work carried out in database security as aim the definition of related terns are given in Chapter 3. The interrelationship between the operating system security and database security is also presented in this chapter. In general the database security mechanism depends on the existing operating system. The database security mechanism are thus only as strong as the underlying operating system on which it is developed. The various schemes used for implementing database security such as access controller and capability lists are described in this chapter. In Chapter 4, a model for database security has been described. The model provides for: (a) Delegation of access rights by a user and (b) Revocation of access rights previously granted by a user. In addition, algorithms for enforcing context dependent and content dependent rules are provided in this cheer. The context-dependent rules are stored in the form of elements of a bit matrix. Context-dependent rules could then be enforced by suitably manipulating the bit matrix and interpreting the value of me elements of the matrix, The major advantage of representing the rules using bit matrices is that the matrix itself could be maintalnet3 in main memory. The time taken to examine if a user is authorized to access an object is drastically reduced because of the reduced time required to inspect main memory. The method presented in this chapter, in addition to reducing the time requirement for enforcing security also presents a method for enforcing decentralized authorization control, a facility that is useful in a distributed database environment. Chapter 5 describes a simulation method that is useful for comparing the various security schemes. The tasks involved in the simulation are – 1. Creation of an arrival (job). 2. Placing the incoming job either in the wait queue or in the run state depending on the type of access needed for: the object. 3. Checking that the user on whose behalf the job is being executed is authorized to access the object in the mode requested. 4. Checking for the successful completion of the job and termination of the job. 5. Collection of important parameters such as number of jobs processed, average connect time. Simulation was carried out for timing both the access controller scheme and bit matrix scheme, The results of the simulation run bear the fact that the bit matrix scheme provides a faster method Six types of access were assumed to be permissible, three of the access types requiring shared lock and the rest requiring exclusive locks on the objects concerned, In addition the only type of operation allowed was assumed to be for accessing the objects. It is be noted that the time taken to check for security violation is but one of the factors for rating the security system. In general, various other factors such as cost of implementing the security system, the flexibility that offers enforcing security policies also have to be taken into account while comparing the security systems. Finally, in Chapter 6, a comparison of the security schemes are made. In conclusion the bit matrix approach is seen to provide the following features. (a) The time required to check if an access request should be honoured is very small. (b) The time required to find a11 users accessing an object viz, accountability is quite small. (c) The time required to find all objects accessible by a user is also quite small. (dl The scheme supports both decentralized and centralized authorization control. (e) Mechanism for enforcing delegation of access rights and revocation of access rights could be built in easily. ( f ) The scheme supports content-dependent, context-dependent controls and also provides a means for enforcing history-dependent control. Finally, some recommendations for further study in the field of Computer Database Security are presented.