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Title: User-controlled access management to resources on the Web
Authors: Machulak, Maciej Pawel
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The rapidly developing Web environment provides users with a wide set of rich services as varied and complex as desktop applications. Those services are collectively referred to as "Web 2.0", with such examples as Facebook, Google Apps, Salesforce, or Wordpress, among many others. These applications are used for creating, managing, and sharing online data between users and services on the Web. With the shift from desktop computers to the Web, users create and store more of their data online and not on the hard drives of their computers. This data includes personal information, documents, photos, as well as other resources. Irrespective of the environment, either desktop or the Web, it is the user who creates the data, who disseminates it and who shares this data. On the Web, however, sharing resources poses new security and usability challenges which were not present in traditional computing. Access control, also known as authorisation, that aims to protect such sharing, is currently poorly addressed in this environment. Existing access control is often not well suited to the increasing amount of highly distributed Web data and does not give users the required flexibility in managing their data. This thesis discusses new solutions to access control for the Web. Firstly, it shows a proposal named User-Managed Access Control (UMAC) and presents its architecture and protocol. This thesis then focuses on the User-Managed Access (UMA) solution that is researched by the User- Managed Access Work Group at Kantara Initiative. The UMA approach allows the user to play a pivotal role in assigning access rights to their resources which may be spread across multiple cloud-based Web applications. Unlike existing authorisation systems, it relies on a user’s centrally located security requirements for these resources. The security requirements are expressed in the form of access control policies and are stored and evaluated in a specialised component called Authorisation Manager. Users are provided with a consistent User Experience for managing access control for their distributed online data and are provided with a holistic view of the security applied to this data. Furthermore, this thesis presents the software that implements the UMA proposal. In particular, this thesis shows frameworks that allow Web applications to delegate their access control function to an Authorisation Manager. It also presents design and implementation of an Authorisation Manager and discusses its evaluation conducted with a user study. It then discusses design and implementation of a second, improved Authorisation Manager. Furthermore, this thesis presents the applicability of the UMA approach and the implemented software to real-world scenarios.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Computing Science

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