Archives—October 2013

NSF award for Drs. Mayo, Shene, Wang of MTU and Dr. Carr of WMU

Drs. Jean Mayo, Ching-Kuang Shene and Chaoli Wang of MTU and Dr. Steven Carr of Western Michigan University, have been awarded $199,164 from the National Science Foundation to develop materials to educate students on modern access control models and systems.

Educating students in this area is important for keeping the nation’s computer resources secure.  Access control is a last line of defense for protecting system resources from a compromised process.  This is a primary motivation for the principle of least privilege, which requires that a process be given access to exactly those resources it requires.  Yet enforcement of this principle is difficult.  A strict access control policy can contain tens of thousands of rules, while errors in the policy can interrupt service and put system resources at risk unnecessarily.

This project will develop materials that facilitate education on modern access control models and systems.  A policy development system leverages visualization to enhance student learning.  The policy development system allows graphical development and analysis of access control policies.  It runs at the user-level, so that student work does not impact operation of the underlying system and so that access to a specific operating system is not required.  A set of web-based tutorials is being developed that are suitable for study outside of the classroom. These materials will increase the number of institutions that are able to offer deep coverage of access control and will facilitate expertise among workers who are not able to pursue formal education.