Access Control and Signatures via Quorum Secret Sharing

Moni Naor and Avishai Wool


We suggest a method of controlling the access to a secure database via quorum systems. A quorum system is a collection of sets (quorums) every two of which have a nonempty intersection. Quorum systems have been used for a number of applications in the area of distributed systems.

We propose a separation between access servers which are protected and trustworthy, but may be outdated, and the {\em data servers} which may all be compromised. The main paradigm is that only the servers in a complete quorum can collectively grant (or revoke) access permission. The method we suggest ensures that after authorization is revoked, a cheating user Alice will not be able to access the data even if many access servers still consider her authorized, and even if the complete raw database is available to her. The method has a low overhead in terms of communication and computation. It can also be converted into a distributed system for issuing secure signatures.

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