Blockchain based auditable access control for distributed business processes

Ahmed Akhtar, Basit Shafiq, Jaideep Vaidya, Ayesha Afzal, Shafay Shamail, Omer Rana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The use of blockchain technology has been proposed to provide auditable access control for individual resources. However, when all resources are owned by a single organization, such expensive solutions may not be needed. In this work we focus on distributed applications such as business processes and distributed workflows. These applications are often composed of multiple resources/services that are subject to the security and access control policies of different organizational domains. Here, blockchains can provide an attractive decentralized solution to provide auditability. However, the underlying access control policies may be overlapping in terms of the component conditions/rules, and simply using existing solutions would result in repeated evaluation of user’s authorization separately for each resource, leading to significant overhead in terms of cost and computation time over the blockchain. To address this challenge, we propose an approach that formulates a constraint optimization problem to generate an optimal composite access control policy. This policy is in compliance with all the local access control policies and minimizes the policy evaluation cost over the blockchain. The developed smart contract(s) can then be deployed to the blockchain, and used for access control enforcement. We also discuss how the access control enforcement can be audited using a game-theoretic approach to minimize cost. We have implemented the initial prototype of our approach using Ethereum as the underlying blockchain and experimentally validated the effectiveness and efficiency of our approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 IEEE 40th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781728170022
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Event40th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2020 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: Nov 29 2020Dec 1 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems


Conference40th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Access Control
  • Blockchain
  • Business Processes
  • Workflows


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