In large organizations, the access control policy is managed by multiple users (administrators). An administrative policy specifies how each user may change the policy. The consequences of an administrative policy are often non-obvious, because sequences of changes by different users may interact in unexpected ways. Administrative policy analysis helps by answering questions such as user-permission reachability, which asks whether specified users can together change the policy in a way that achieves a specified goal, namely, granting a specified permission to a specified user.
This paper presents a rule-based access control policy language, a rule-based administrative policy model that controls addition and removal of rules and facts, and a symbolic analysis algorithm for answering reachability queries. The algorithm can analyze policy rules that refer to sets of facts (e.g., information about users) that are not known at analysis time. The algorithm does this by computing conditions on the initial set of facts under which the specified goal is reachable by actions of the specified users.