Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI

Andreas Grüner

"Towards Practical and Trust-Enhancing Attribute Aggregation for Self-Sovereign Identity"

Identity management is at the forefront of applications’ security posture. It separates the unauthorised user from the legitimate individual. Identity management models have evolved from the isolated to the centralised paradigm and identity federations. Within this advancement, the identity provider emerged as a trusted third party that holds a powerful position. Allen postulated the novel self-sovereign identity paradigm to establish a new balance. Thus, extensive research is required to comprehend its virtues and limitations. Analysing the new paradigm, initially, we investigate the blockchain-based self-sovereign identity concept structurally. Moreover, we examine trust requirements in this context by reference to patterns. These shapes comprise major entities linked by a decentralised identity provider. By comparison to the traditional models, we conclude that trust in credential management and authentication is removed. Trust-enhancing attribute aggregation based on multiple attribute providers provokes a further trust shift. Subsequently, we formalise attribute assurance trust modelling by a metaframework. It encompasses the attestation and trust network as well as the trust decision process, including the trust function, as central components. A secure attribute assurance trust model depends on the security of the trust function. The trust function should consider high trust values and several attribute authorities. Furthermore, we evaluate classification, conceptual study, practical analysis and simulation as assessment strategies of trust models. For realising trust-enhancing attribute aggregation, we propose a probabilistic approach. The method exerts the principle characteristics of correctness and validity. These values are combined for one provider and subsequently for multiple issuers. We embed this trust function in a model within the self-sovereign identity ecosystem. To practically apply the trust function and solve several challenges for the service provider that arise from adopting self-sovereign identity solutions, we conceptualise and implement an identity broker. The mediator applies a component-based architecture to abstract from a single solution. Standard identity and access management protocols build the interface for applications. We can conclude that the broker’s usage at the side of the service provider does not undermine self-sovereign principles, but fosters the advancement of the ecosystem. The identity broker is applied to sample web applications with distinct attribute requirements to showcase usefulness for authentication and attribute-based access control within a case study.