Re-designing the PhEDEx Security Model
Journal of Physics, Conference Series
PhEDEx, the data-placement tool used by the CMS experiment at the LHC, was conceived in a more trusting time. The security model provided a safe environment for site agents and operators, but offerred little more protection than that. Data was not sufficiently protected against loss caused by operator error or software bugs or by deliberate manipulation of the database. Operators were given high levels of access to the database, beyond what was actually needed to accomplish their tasks. This
... heir tasks. This exposed them to the risk of suspicion should an incident occur. Multiple implementations of the security model led to difficulties maintaining code, which can lead to degredation of security over time. In order to meet the simultaneous goals of protecting CMS data, protecting the operators from undue exposure to risk, increasing monitoring capabilities and improving maintainability of the security model, the PhEDEx security model was redesigned and re-implemented. Security was moved from the application layer into the database itself, fine-grained access roles were established, and tools and procedures created to control the evolution of the security model over time. In this paper we describe this work, we describe the deployment of the new security model, and we show how these enhancements improve security on several fronts simultaneously.