Paper 2013/492

Cryptographically Enforced RBAC

Anna Lisa Ferrara, George Fuchsbauer, and Bogdan Warinschi


Cryptographic access control promises to offer easily distributed trust and broader applicability, while reducing reliance on low-level online monitors. Traditional implementations of cryptographic access control rely on simple cryptographic primitives whereas recent endeavors employ primitives with richer functionality and security guarantees. Worryingly, few of the existing cryptographic access-control schemes come with precise guarantees, the gap between the policy specication and the implementation being analyzed only informally, if at all. In this paper we begin addressing this shortcoming. Unlike prior work that targeted ad-hoc policy specification, we look at the well-established Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) model, as used in a typical file system. In short, we provide a precise syntax for a computational version of RBAC, offer rigorous denitions for cryptographic policy enforcement of a large class of RBAC security policies, and demonstrate that an implementation based on attribute-based encryption meets our security notions. We view our main contribution as being at the conceptual level. Although we work with RBAC for concreteness, our general methodology could guide future research for uses of cryptography in other access-control models.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. 2013 IEEE 26th Computer Security Foundations Symposium
Contact author(s)
anna lisa ferrara @ bristol ac uk
2013-08-15: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Anna Lisa Ferrara and George Fuchsbauer and Bogdan Warinschi},
      title = {Cryptographically Enforced RBAC},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2013/492},
      year = {2013},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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