ACM Transactions on Database Systems (TODS)

On an Authorization Mechanism

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Griffiths and Wade (ACM Trans. Database Syst. 1,3, (Sept. 1976), 242-255) have defined a dynamic authorization mechanism that goes beyond the traditional password approach. A database user can grant or revoke privileges (such as to read, insert, or delete) on a file that he has created. Furthermore, he can authorize others to grant these same privileges. The database management system keeps track of a directed graph, emanating from the creator, of granted privileges. The nodes of the graph correspond to users, and the edges (each of which is labeled with a timestamp) correspond to grants. The edges are of two types, corresponding to whether or not the recipient of the grant has been given the option to make further grants of this privilege. Furthermore, for each pair A, B of nodes, there can be no more than one edge of each type from A to B. We modify this approach by allowing graphs in which there can be multiple edges of each type from one node to another. We prove correctness (in a certain strong sense) for our modified authorization mechanism. Further, we show by example that under the original mechanism, the system might forbid some user from exercising or granting a privilege that he “should” be allowed to exercise or grant. © 1978, ACM. All rights reserved.


01 Sep 1978


ACM Transactions on Database Systems (TODS)