Exploiting Smart Contracts for Capability-Based Access Control in the Internet of Things

Yuta NakamuraX Yuanyu ZhangX Masahiro SasabeX Shoji KasaharaX

In Sensors, 2020


Due to the rapid penetration of the Internet of Things (IoT) into human life, illegal access to IoT resources (e.g., data and actuators) has greatly threatened our safety. Access control, which specifies who (i.e., subjects) can access what resources (i.e., objects) under what conditions, has been recognized as an effective solution to address this issue. To cope with the distributed and trust-less nature of IoT systems, we propose a decentralized and trustworthy Capability-Based Access Control (CapBAC) scheme by using the Ethereum smart contract technology. In this scheme, a smart contract is created for each object to store and manage the capability tokens (i.e., data structures recording granted access rights) assigned to the related subjects, and also to verify the ownership and validity of the tokens for access control. Different from previous schemes which manage the tokens in units of subjects, i.e., one token per subject, our scheme manages the tokens in units of access rights or actions, i.e., one token per action. Such novel management achieves more fine-grained and flexible capability delegation and also ensures the consistency between the delegation information and the information stored in the tokens. We implemented the proposed CapBAC scheme in a locally constructed Ethereum blockchain network to demonstrate its feasibility. In addition, we measured the monetary cost of our scheme in terms of gas consumption to compare our scheme with the existing Blockchain-Enabled Decentralized Capability-Based Access Control (BlendCAC) scheme proposed by other researchers. The experimental results show that the proposed scheme outperforms the BlendCAC scheme in terms of the flexibility, granularity, and consistency of capability delegation at almost the same monetary cost.


Text Reference

Yuta Nakamura, Yuanyu Zhang, Masahiro Sasabe, Shoji Kasahara. Exploiting Smart Contracts for Capability-Based Access Control in the Internet of Things. Sensors, 20(6), pp.1793: 1-20, March 2020.

BibTex Reference

    author = "Nakamura, Yuta and Zhang, Yuanyu and Sasabe, Masahiro and Kasahara, Shoji",
    title = "Exploiting {{Smart Contracts}} for {{Capability}}-{{Based Access Control}} in the {{Internet}} of {{Things}}",
    year = "2020",
    month = "March",
    volume = "20",
    pages = "1793: 1-20",
    doi = "10.3390/s20061793",
    journal = "Sensors",
    number = "6"