What isdiscretionary access control

Discretionary Access Control (DAC) is a type of access control system used in security that lets the user or owner of an object determine who can access it and what they can do with it. The access policy is based on the owner or owners and/or subjects of the object. It is identified by the user’s credentials, like a username and password, during authentication. This type of control is discretionary because it allows the subject (owner) to grant access to other users or transfer authenticated objects.

The principle of DAC is to restrict access to objects based on user identity or group membership. Implementing DACs can be done through access control lists, where a resource profile contains a list of users who can access the resource and the authority level they have to access it. The security administrator is responsible for defining a profile for each object and updating access control lists. Discretionary access control is also used for resources or groups of resources, and can be manipulated or changed by the owner of the object, in addition to the security administrator.

Advantages of DAC

  • Provides a flexible and versatile security model where the owner of an object has full control over who can access it.
  • Owners can grant access to objects to others, even in the absence of a security administrator.
  • Saves time for security administrators, as the owners of resources can help manage security access.

Disadvantages of DAC

  • Can create security risks if users unrestrictedly share objects with anyone, exposing them to malicious activities or unauthorized access.
  • Can lead to confusion and inconsistency in object security handling if the owner grants different access privileges for different users or groups.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between DAC and MAC?

The main difference is that DAC gives the owner of a resource the ability to control access to that resource, while Mandatory Access Control (MAC) is controlled by a security administrator. MAC enforces access control based on a set of rules and policies that cannot be overridden by users or resource owners.

Why is Discretionary Access Control important?

DAC allows owners of resources, not just security administrators, to manage access control and protect their valuable information. It provides a more flexible and versatile security model, allowing for the granting of access to others in absence of a security administrator.

What are the two types of access control?

The two main types of access control are Discretionary Access Control (DAC) and Mandatory Access Control (MAC). DAC gives the owner of a resource the ability to control access to that resource, while MAC is controlled by a security administrator and is enforced according to a set of rules and policies that cannot be overridden by users or resource owners.

Conclusion

Discretionary Access Control is a type of security access control system that gives owners of resources the ability to determine who can access them and to what extent. While it provides a flexible system of access control, it also comes with its own set of risks like potential inadvertent sharing of resources. It is essential to ensure the security of information and resources, to protect valuable information from malicious attacks.

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