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Distributed Authorization in Vanadium

Ankur Taly
Asim Shankar
Foundations of Security Analysis and Design VIII, Springer-Verlag (2016)
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This paper presents an authorization model for distributed systems that operate with limited internet connectivity. Reliable internet access remains a luxury for a majority of the world’s population. Even for those who can afford it, a dependence on internet connectivity leads to sub-optimal user experiences. With a focus on decentralized deployment, this model is suitable for scenarios where devices right next to each other (such as a sensor or a friend’s phone) should be able to communicate securely in a peer-to-peer manner. The model combines several known techniques from previous work on SPKI/SDSI [26, 19], Macaroons [10], and the vast literature on trust management [12]. It has been deployed as part of the open-source framework Vanadium [6] that offers a set of tools, libraries and services for developing secure, distributed applications that can run over a network of devices.