BB24.I Semantic Attribute Based Access Control (S-ABAC)


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Title Semantic Attribute Based Access Control (S-ABAC)
Page Title BB24.I Semantic Attribute Based Access Control (S-ABAC)
Technology Line Distributed Cloud Integration
Lead partner UiO
Leader Christian Johansen
Contributors UiO, Wolffia, SmartIO
Related to Use Cases SCOTT:WP8, SCOTT:WP11, SCOTT:WP12"<s>SCOTT:WP12</s>" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., SCOTT:WP13"<s>SCOTT:WP13</s>" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., SCOTT:WP14, SCOTT:WP15, SCOTT:WP21
Description A Semantic Attribute based access control provides the means for different actors having access to different types of information of a system. The former notation of Role-based access control (RBAC) is extended, where "role" is one attribute deciding on the access. As an example, your data of your "heat pump" (energy efficiency) are of interest for a) the house owner, b) the manufacturer, c) the municipalities, d) the maintenance company, e) the person renting the flat, f) the energy distributor. Which data (e.g. statistical) and who has access (attribute: grade of access: monitor, control, configure) might be subject to a security and privacy analysis (attribute: required security level). S-ABAC is seen as tool to provide the functionality, but needs R&I to become usable in a distributed cloud.
Main output One output would be Ontologies related to Access Control for the specific domains that SCOTT works with.

Another output is a methodology and technology description for how to include semantic specifications, i.e., the above mentioned ontologies, in the ABAC model. A third outcome would be a software implementation of a S-ABAC engine that would extend existing ABAC engine/framework with semantic reasoning tools and ontology editing capabilities. These software components would form the S-ABAC-framework and would include components like policy definition endpoint and tool including Semantic concepts, policy enforcement point, Attribute management point, etc.

BB category Methodology (for SW/HW development), SW component, Profile, Tool or tool chain, Interface, Standard, Means for establishing cross-domain interoperability, Other
Baseline Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) starts to penetrate the industry, and has been used especially in the health domain where fine grained access policies are needed. Industrial standards already exist, e.g., XACML and SAML, and industry standard implementations of ABAC also exist, e.g., Balana ...

We plan to include in ABAC notions from Semantic Technologies, e.g. ontologies for the specific domains that SCOTT works on, and reasoning engines like Protege. Semantic technologies are widely used in industries for and specific domains, with the purpose to provide amore structures way of managing and querying data. We want to use the powerful tools of ST in conjunction with ABAC models, to improve the flexibility of ABAC and ease the adoption by industry.

Current TRL 9 for Semantic Technologies

9 for ABAC
2-4 for S-ABAC.

Target TRL Aim to reach TRL 6 for S-ABAC .


Title= A language-based policy specification and enforcement in a semantic-directed, integrated and automated approach.

  • status= Progress
  • author= Toktam Ramezani

Title= attribute-based encryption (from Chalmers via WP21 SharePoint)

  • status= Initiation
  • author= Christian Johansen


  • WP21 as core
  • WP14 and WP15 as extended application
  • WP11 and WP8 as possible future applications
  • We will not be involved in WP12 and WP13.

Practical suggestions


  • See the RoadMap
    • Second steps:
      • Make an installation local on the working computers of UiO with XACML engines and ontologies
        • One installation will be used for research, to extend to SABAC and test on our internal computers
        • A second installation will be dedicated to the SCOTT D.21.1 use case. This should be accessible as described in the I/O document provided on SharePoint.
          • This can be seen as a cloud installation, in the beginning.
          • If/when needed we investigate how such an installation can be made on the Edge inside a home gateway...
      • first Integration with the D.21.1 architecture
      • Authzforce ( is selected for implementation of the ABAC engine
        • It provides an ABAC framework compliant with XACML3. It is a JAVA project, which is open source. It provides a Java API (a PDP engine as a Java library) as well as Web API (A multi-tenant HTTP/REST API to PDPs and PAPs for managing policies, requesting authorization decisions, etc.)


Research Directions and Plans


Working with ABAC and Semantic technologies; combining the two.

    • First steps:
      • Work with existing ABAC technology and engines, based on the standards like XACML and extensions/profiles for health and SAML and profiles for health.
        • Learn and make tutorial on the existing technology
          • TODO Tutorial (2 lectures) on ABAC and Semantic ABAC to be given at UiO in February. This will be filmed and provided to the SCOTT extranet in WP21 area.
        • Identify Semantic technologies and ontologies that are used in health and can be most useful for our scenario described in D.21.1
      • TODO Make a comprehensive survey on th literature related to Semantic ABAC . To be finalized before summer.
      • TODO Provide an example of usage of ABAC in health.
        • Adapt this educational example to the use case of D.21.1

Semantic ABAC

    • Third steps:
      • Include Ontologies and Semantic engine with the ABAC engine
        • Existing ontologies to be identified
          • How much do these fit the M14 demo and how much these need to be extended adapted for our use case ?
        • Existing Semantic engines identified and which can be integrated with the needed ontologies and the ABAC engine
        • Existing SABAC tools and theories identified (from the Survey done in First steps
      • Make an installation of Semantic engines with the chosen ontologies
      • Make an installation of SABAC engines
        • Either extend previous ABAC engine or choose from the existing tools identified before
        • Make one installation tailored to SCOTT D.21.1 demo
        • Make one internal installation for research purposes
      • second integration with D.21.1, including Semantics aspects this time.

ABE Attribute Based Encryption

  • Internship planned to Chalmers to work on this in April-June 2018

Dynamic ABAC

  • Here we adopt the technology from Usage Control UCON Survey

RoadMap for M14 demo in WP21 on health for SABAC

Deliverables and Documents