Check out the new USENIX Web site.

Exu - A System for Secure Delegation of Authority on an Insecure Network

Karl Ramm - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michael Grubb - Duke University


Administration of a large and complex system poses several problems: Usually, some tasks must be delegated due to lack of qualified or trusted staff, and some tasks must be automated. In many cases, some parts of the task might need special credentials, such as Kerberos tickets or AFS tokens, that may not necessarily be easily available to the person executing the task. The problem is that most systems divide users into two groups: haves and have nots, and provide no mechanism for finer-grained access control. In addition, the tasks executed must be carefully recorded for possible later auditing. Earlier solutions, such as the setuid bit, Moira, ADM, and sysctl, can be used to accomplish this, either in a limited or dangerous (in the case of setuid) fashion. Exu proposes to solve the problem via secure, authenticated connection to a server with full authentication that can cause things to happen in real time.

Download the full text of this paper:
ASCII (21,463 bytes)
POSTSCRIPT (108,616 bytes)
PDF (49,970 bytes)

To Become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.