Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Info-Sec Guideline: Complete Authorization

Guideline: Complete Authorization

Part of: Information Security Guidelines
OverviewBuilding a set of Guidelines for Security and Privacy

Every form of access is based on a complete authorization scheme (identification -> authentication -> authorization) and authorization is never implicitly granted.

When access to a system is needed, authorizations are required. Such authorization can be granted implicitly and explicitly. Implicit authorizations are dangerous, because a system assumes that because you are on the network or domain, you can access everything else within that context. Explicit authorization prevents that from happening. Even when you have access to a system or domain, specific authorizations are still validated before allowing (further) access.

In an information system in a hospital an assistant might access contact details about a patient. But it would violate the patient’s medical confidentiality when the assistant can also access the medical records stored in the database. Therefore, the person’s identity must be authenticated and based on that authorizations needs to be granted or not. Based on this information the doctor would see more information than the assistant.

Explicit authorization can be done with security tickets or tokens traveling with the identity. But the mere fact that the token exists should not lead to access. The ticket or token should be validated for proper authorization before access is granted.

More information from Wikipedia about Authorization.
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