Types for security in a mobile world

Adriana B. Compagnoni, Elsa L. Gunter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Our society is increasingly moving towards richer forms of information exchange where mobility of processes and devices plays a prominent role. This tendency has prompted the academic community to study the security problems arising from such mobile environments, and in particular, the security policies regulating who can access the information in question. In this paper we propose a a mechanisms for specifying access privileges based on a combination of the identity of the user seeking access, its credentials, and the location from which he seeks it, within a reconfigurable nested structure. We define BACI R, a boxed ambient calculus extended with a Distributed Role-Based Access Control mechanism where each ambient controls its own access policy. A process in BACIR is associated with an owner and a set of activated roles that grant permissions for mobility and communication. The calculus includes primitives to activate and deactivate roles. The behavior of these primitives is determined by the process's owner, its current location and its currently activated roles. We consider two forms of security violations that our type system prevents: 1) attempting to move into an ambient without having the authorizing roles granting entry activated and 2) trying to use a communication port without having the roles required for access activated. We accomplish 1) and 2) by giving a static type system, an untyped transition semantics, and a typed transition semantics. We then show that a well-typed program never violates the dynamic security checks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2005
EventInternational Symposium on Trustworthy Global Computing, TGC 2005 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: Apr 7 2005Apr 9 2005

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume3705 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


OtherInternational Symposium on Trustworthy Global Computing, TGC 2005
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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