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Lattice-based access control

(also label-based access control or rule-based access control)

Lattice-based access control definition

Lattice-based access control (LBAC) is a security model that uses a hierarchical lattice structure to define and enforce access rights. The lattice structure sets varying security levels for different resources and users. A user can only access a resource if their security level is equal to or higher than that of the resource.

See also: network access control, risk-based access control, discretionary access control

Elements of lattice-based access control

  • Lattice structure. A lattice is a hierarchical structure that consists of levels, each representing a set of access rights. The levels are ordered based on the level of access they grant, from more restrictive to more permissive.
  • Access labels. Each resource in the system gets an access label that corresponds to a specific level in the lattice structure. The label represents the level of access needed to interact with the resource.
  • Access comparison. When a user or process requests access to a resource, their access level is compared to the access label of the resource. If the user's access level is higher or equal to the resource's access label, access is granted. Otherwise, it is denied.

Lattice-based access control use cases

  • Role-based access control (RBAC). Lattice-based access control can serve as a foundation for RBAC systems. It provides a structure for defining and managing access for different roles within an organization.
  • Multi-level security systems. This model is also suitable for systems with multiple levels of security, such as military or government environments. It enables precise control over access permissions based on the hierarchical lattice structure.
  • Cross-domain solutions. LBAC is useful in solutions where information flows between different security domains. It ensures that data is properly protected and accessed only by authorized entities based on their security levels.
  • Cloud computing. In cloud computing, lattice-based access control can enforce access restrictions in multi-tenant scenarios. It helps maintain data isolation and ensures that tenants can access only their own resources based on their security levels.
  • IoT (internet of things) security. LBAC can help secure IoT systems, particularly when devices have different levels of access privileges. It helps prevent unauthorized access or control of IoT devices based on the lattice-defined security levels.