Physically restricted authentication with trusted hardware


Modern computer systems permit users to access protected information from remote locations. In certain secure environments, it would be desirable to restrict this access to a particular computer or set of computers. Existing solutions of machine-level authentication are undesirable for two reasons. First, they do not allow fine-grained application layer access decisions. Second, they are vulnerable to insider attacks in which a trusted administrator acts maliciously. In this work, we describe a novel approach using secure hardware that solves these problems. In our design, multiple administrators are required for installation of a system. After installation, the authentication privileges are physically linked to that machine, and no administrator can bypass these controls. We define an administrative model and detail the requirements for an authentication protocol to be compatible with our methodology. Our design presents some challenges for large-scale systems, in addition to the benefit of reduced maintenance.


applied cryptography, authentication, authentication more tags

Date of this Version



STC '09 Proceedings of the 2009 ACM workshop on Scalable trusted computing