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Security Service

The additional dynamism and outreach that Active Spaces advocate require effective mechanisms to secure the underlying infrastructure. To address these concerns, we are developing a dynamic, context-aware security architecture for Active Spaces. This security architecture features a federated authentication system that is based on distributed, pluggable, "CORBArized" authentication modules. This module-based service allows the separation of applications from the actual authentication mechanisms and devices. The dynamically pluggable modules allow the authentication subsystem to incorporate additional authentication devices and mechanisms on the fly as they become available.

The access control system is designed to automate the creation and enforcement of access control policies for different configurations of an active space. The system explicitly recognizes different modes of cooperation between groups of users, and the dependence between physical and virtual aspects of security in Active Spaces. We support both discretionary and mandatory access control policies, and use role-based access control techniques for easy policy administration. Our model dynamically assigns permissions to user roles based on context information. Dynamic protection domains allow administrators and application developers the ability to customize access control policies. Our model preserves the principle of least privilege, promotes separation of duty, and prevents rights-amplification.

Unless proper countermeasures are laid out, an Active Space environment could be rife with sensors and embedded devices that could threaten users' privacy. To address these concerns, we introduce Mist, which is a privacy-preserving communication protocol capable of authenticating users while hiding their true identities from end applications and services.