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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Analysis of ANSI RBAC support in commercial middleware Darwish, Wesam M.


This thesis analyzes the access control architectures of three middleware technologies: Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), Enterprise Java Beans (EJB), and Component Object Model (COM+). For all technologies under study, we formalize the protection state of their corresponding authorization architectures in a more precise and less ambiguous language than their respective specifications. We also suggest algorithms that define the semantics of authorization decisions in CORBA, EJB, and COM+. Using the formalized protection state configurations, we analyze the level of support for the American National Standard Institute's (ANSI) specification of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) components and functional specification in the studied middleware technologies. This thesis establishes a framework for assessing implementations of ANSI RBAC in the analyzed middleware technologies. Our findings indicate that all of three middleware technologies under study fall short of supporting even Core ANSI RBAC. Custom extensions are necessary in order for implementations compliant with each middleware to support ANSI RBAC required or optional components. Some of the limitations preventing support of ANSI RBAC are due to the middleware's architectural design decisions; however, fundamental limitations exist due to the impracticality of some aspects of the ANSI RBAC standard itself.

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