Click here to show or hide short links that help you to directly jump to the element you are looking for.

Introduction

This documentation is about the specification of privacy policies with the MYDATA policy language regulating security-relevant system events. The MYDATA policy language is designed to express restrictions on data usage. It is an XML-based language, based on boolean logic, arithmetics, temporal information based on an event history. Furthermore, it allows for evaluations based on push (event-triggered) or pull (timer-triggered). Connection to external systems for information retrieval is fully supported. Enforcement decisions can be specified by means of event inhibition, data modification using JsonPath (via PEP modifier plugins) and via the execution of actions (via PXP plugins).

The Event-Condition-Action Schema

MYDATA defines policies based security-relevant events that are occurring at a certain time in a system and are intercepted by "Policy Enforcement Point" (PEP). These events are sent to a "Policy Decision Point" (PDP), which evaluates the policies and returns an Authorization Decision based on the policies. This decision is then enforced by the PEP.

PEP
Figure 1. Basic MYDATA flow

Depending on the system and PEP type, events can highly differ. In general, events contain:

  • An action name that defines the type of the event

  • The time the event occurred

  • A key-value list with event parameters

The following example shows an event we will refer to multiple times in this documentation. It shows an event that is executed when someone reads bank transactions in a web service.

Example Event for Banking
Event ID: "urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions"
Time: 1533545200
Parameters:
 - "customerID" (Number)
 - "psd2Id" (Number)
 - "transactions" (List of Transaction Objects)

MYDATA policies are based on the Event-Condition-Action (ECA). If a system event E (see above) is fetched and a condition C is satisfied, then action A (authorization decision) is performed. MYDATA follows a blacklisting approach. Events that are not covered by policies are allowed by default.

The following policy shows a simple example. It translates to: "Inhibit the event urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions if it is after 3pm (i.e., if the external information source getCurrentHour returns a value below or equal to 15)"

Example MYDATA security policy
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getTransactions'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'> <!-- Event -->
    <if> <!-- Condition -->
      <less>
        <pip:number method='urn:info:banking-demo:getCurrentHour' default='0'/>
        <constant:number value='15'/>
      </less>
      <then>
        <inhibit/> <!-- Action -->
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Policy Structure

A policy consists of one or more mechanisms that are based on the Event-Condition-Action (ECA) schema. MYDATA follows a blacklisting approach. Events that are not covered by policies are allowed by default.

Policy

The <policy> tag is the root element of an MYDATA security policy. It has the following attributes:

Table 1. Policy attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

id

URN

required

The unique id of the policy. The id syntax is urn:policy:<solution>:<identifier>. The <solution> matches your solution ID and defines the range of effect. The <identifier> uniquely identifies the policy within the scope.

name

String

optional

A human readable (short) name for the policy.

description

String

optional

A more detailed natural language description of the security policy.

The <policy> tag must have at least one mechanism child and can optionally contain variableDeclarations.

Mechanisms

A <mechanism> tag describes a rule of a policy based on a monitored, intercepted or time triggered event. An intercepted event can be allowed (event is released and executed normally), modified (the event is changed according to the modifiers specified in the mechanism before it is executed) or inhibited (the event is dropped and will not be executed). A time triggered or monitored event cannot be inhibited or modified - thus, are always allowed. You can use PXPs to react on these events.

The <mechanism> element has the following attributes:

Table 2. Mechanism attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

event

URN

required

Specifies the event by which the mechanism is triggered and for which the mechanism provides a security rule. The event follows this pattern: urn:action:<solution>:<identifier>

id

String

optional

A unique id for the mechanism, used for logging purposes only.

description

String

optional

A natural language description of the mechanism.

Mechanisms follow the if-then-else schema. Thus, a <mechanism> tag can have the following children:

  • <if>: A condition that leads to an authorization decision if it matches

  • <elseif>: A condition that leads to an authorization decision if it matches and the previous if or else-ifs did not match

  • <else>: A condition that leads to an authorization decision if none of the previous if or else-ifs matched

  • <execute>: The unconditional execution of an action

Policy Specification Rules
  • The child element <if> is mandatory and only allowed to be used once within a <mechanism>.

  • The child element <else> is optional but only allowed to be used once within a <mechanism> also.

  • The child elements <elseif> and <execute> may be used multiple times.

Policy Evaluation Rules
  • A specified <execute> as a direct child of <mechanism> the <mechanism> tag is triggered independently of the satisfaction of a condition.

Example: Inhibits access to transactions after 3pm and log the event
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getAccounts' description='Inhibits access to transactions and loggs the action'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <less>
        <pip:number method='urn:info:banking-demo:getCurrentHour' default='0'/>
        <constant:number value='15'/>
      </less>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
        <execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:logNotification'>
       		<parameter:string name='message' value='Access attempt to account data after 3pm'/>
    	</execute>
      </then>
    </if>
    <else>
    	<allow/>
    	<execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:logNotification'>
       		<parameter:string name='message' value='Access attempt to account data before 3pm'/>
    	</execute>
    </else>
    <execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:logNotification'>
       <parameter:string name='message' value='Access attempt to account data'/>
    </execute>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Conditions

The <if> and the <elseif> elements declare the condition that is evaluated each time the mechanism fires.

A condition must have the following child elements:

  • A boolean-function that defines the condition

  • A <then> that defines an authorization decision that the mechanism enforces if the condition matches

Policy Specification Rules
  • The <if> and the <elseif> must have exactly one boolean function and one <then> child

Policy Evaluation Rules
  • If the <if> condition is not satisfied, then the first <elseif> condition will be evaluated.

  • Only the <then> element of the first satisfied <if> or <elseif> condition will be enforced.

  • If no condition is satisfied, then the action defined in the <else> element will be executed.

  • If no condition is satisfied and no <else> element is specified, then the event will be allowed (blacklisting).

Example: Prohibit access to transactions after 3pm and log access to transactions between 2pm and 3pm
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getTransactions'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <lessEqual>
        <constant:number value='15'/>
        <pip:number method='urn:info:banking-demo:getCurrentHour' default='0'/>
      </lessEqual>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
    <elseif>
      <and>
         <greaterEqual>
           <pip:number method='urn:banking-demo:getCurrentHour' default='0'/>
           <constant:number value='14'/>
         </greaterEqual>
         <less>
           <pip:number method='urn:info:banking-demo:getCurrentHour' default='0'/>
           <constant:number value='15'/>
         </less>
      </and>
      <then>
        <execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:logNotification'>
          <parameter:string name='message' value='Access attempt to account data between 2 and 3pm'/>
        </execute>
      </then>
    </elseif>
    <else>
      <constant:true/>
      <then>
        <allow/>
        <execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:logNotification'>
          <parameter:string name='message' value='Someone accessed the transactions'/>
        </execute>
      </then>
    </else>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Decisions

Decisions are defined inside a <then> element inside a condition (<if> or <elseif>), or in an <else> element, which is used if no condition is fulfilled. These two elements can have the following child elements:

  • <allow>: The event will be allowed

  • <modify>: The event is allowed, but modified before further execution

  • <inhibit>: The event will be inhibited

  • <execute>: Additional actions are executed, independent of the event allowance

Policy Specification Rules
  • The <then> and the <else> elements must have at either

Example: If the role of the user is "ROLE_USER" then modify task desricption, name and budget; else inhibit
<policy id='urn:policy:cs4:anonymizeTasksOfOthers'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:cs4:show-task'>
    <if>
      <equals>
        <pip:string method='urn:info:cs4:getRoleByUsername' default=''>
          <parameter:string name='userId'>
            <event:string eventParameter='user' default='' jsonPathQuery='$.userId'/>
          </parameter:string>
        </pip:string>
        <constant:string value='ROLE_USER'/>
      </equals>
      <then>
        <modify eventParameter='task' method='anagram' jsonPathQuery='$.description'>
          <parameter:number name='percentage' value='100'/>
        </modify>
        <modify eventParameter='task' method='replace' jsonPathQuery='$.name'>
          <parameter:string name='replaceWith' value='******'/>
        </modify>
        <modify eventParameter='task' method='delete' jsonPathQuery='$.budget'/>
      </then>
    </if>
    <else>
      <inhibit/>
    </else>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Simple Decisions

Similar to basic access control mechanisms, an event can be allowed or inhibited. The <allow> tag is part of a positive authorization decision. It informs the PEP that the intercepted event can be released for reaching its destination. The <inhibit> tag is part of a negative authorization decision. It informs the PEP that the intercepted event must be dropped so that it never reaches its destination. A reason can be added to both elements:

Table 3. Allow and inhibit attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

reason

String

optional

The description or rationale for the decision.

Example: If role is banker then allow the event "get transactions" else inhibit the event
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:checkRoleExample'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <equals>
        <pip:string method='urn:info:banking-demo:checkRole' default=''/>
        <constant:string value='Banker'/>
      </equals>
      <then>
        <allow reason='Banker is authorized to get transactions'/>
      </then>
    </if>
    <else>
      <inhibit reason='User is not authorized'/>
    </else>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Complex Decisions with Event Modifications

In addition to basic access control mechanisms, MYDATA allows the modification of the intercepted event. The <modify> element is used to specify event modifications that the PEP must enforce before releasing the intercepted event. It has the following attributes:

Table 4. Allow and inhibit attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

eventParameter

String

required

The name of the event parameter that should be modified.

method

String

required

The name of the modification that should be applied (e.g., delete, anonymize). This depends on the capabilities of the PEP. Available modifier methods can be checked in your component overview and are proposed by the policy editor.

jsonPathQuery

String

optional

If the parameter contains a complex object, modifications can be applied to specific parts of the data structure. For example a query "$.firstName" of a parameter "user" will result in the modification of the first name of the user object only.

reason

String

optional

The description or rationale for the event modification.

Some modification methods ("modifiers") require additional parameters. For example, the "replace" modifier gives you the option to replace a certain string (either the event parameter or part of a complex object) with another String. This String has to be provided as a parameter, as the following example shows. Our editor will automatically add stubs for all required parameters.

Example: Replace the bank code number before showing it
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getAccounts'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-accounts'>
    <if>
      <constant:true/>
      <then>
        <modify eventParameter='accounts' method='replace' jsonPathQuery='$.accounts.bankCodeNumber'>
          <parameter:string name='replaceWith' value='XXXXX'/>
        </modify>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>
JSONPath

JSONPath is an instrument to query JSON structures, similar to XPath for XML. JSONPath uses special notation to represent nodes and their connections to adjacent nodes in a JsonPath path. Plese refer to https://github.com/json-path/JsonPath for a full documentation on JsonPath.

Policy Evaluation Rules

When you are using JsonPath, type safety cannot be guaranteed.

This means for example that you can overwrite a Number with a String or List. While this is not a problem for Json / JsonPath, it can (and most likely will) cause problems when deserializting the Json back to an Object at the PEP side. Thus, you need to take care that all modifications you are doing preserve the type. Our editor will show corresponding warnings.

Data Types

MYDATA works with five data types: String, Number, Boolean, Object and List. All operators can be combined only depending on their type. For example, if you have a boolean <and> operator, any kind of boolean children can be attached (e.g., <variable:boolean>, <constant:boolean>, <event:boolen>, <not>, <execute>).

Operators

Basic Operators

For each of the five data types, MYDATA provides five basic operators: Constants, Variables, Event References, Parameters, and PIPs. These operators will be explained in the following.

Constants

Constants are used to define a string, number, object, list or boolean that does not depend on any external factor, i.e. cannot change at runtime. Thus, the value is set during policy specification and does never change.

The following constants are available:

  • <constant:string>

  • <constant:number>

  • <constant:object>

  • <constant:list>

  • <constant:true>

  • <constant:false>

Constants (except <constant:true> and <constant:false>) have the following attributes:

Table 5. Constant attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

value

depends on constant type (string, number, boolean)

required

The value of the constant.

Example: If Role is Banker, then inhibit action
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getTransactions'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <equals>
        <pip:string method='urn:info:banking-demo:checkRole' default=''/>
        <constant:string value='Banker'/>
      </equals>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>
Policy Specification Rules

Boolean constants do not have a value. They are explicitly available as <constant:true> and <constant:false>.

Event references

The event elements are used to reference an event parameter. The following event elements are available:

  • <event:string>

  • <event:number>

  • <event:object>

  • <event:list>

  • <event:boolean>

The elements have the following attributes:

Table 6. Event attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

eventParameter

String

required

The name of an event parameter.

default

same as the event parameter type (string, number, boolean)

required

The value that is returned if the parameter does not exist in the event.

jsonPathQuery

String

optional

The JSONPath expression to be executed on the parameter value, if the value is a complex object. Please refer to https://github.com/json-path/JsonPath for more information about JsonPath.

Remember our example event:

Example Event
Event ID: "urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions"
Time: 1533545200
Parameters:
 - "customerID" (Number)
 - "psd2Id" (Number)
 - "transactions" (List of Transaction Objects)
Example Policy
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getTransactions'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <and>
        <equals>
          <event:number eventParameter='customerID' default='1'/>
          <constant:number value='1'/>
        </equals>
        <greater>
          <event:number eventParameter='transactions' default='1001' jsonPathQuery="$.transactions.amount.value"/>
      	  <constant:number value='1000'/>
        </greater>
      </and>
      <then>
        <modify eventParameter='transactions' method='replace'>
          <parameter:object name='replaceWith' value='XXX'/>
        </modify>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Parameters

The parameter elements are used for parameterized methods. In our case this can be either

The following parameter-elements are available:

  • <parameter:string>

  • <parameter:number>

  • <parameter:object>

  • <parameter:list>

  • <parameter:boolean>

Parameters always have a name and a value.

Table 7. Parameter attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

name

String

required

The name of the parameter.

value

String

optional

The value of the parameter.

Parameters can have one child of the same type (e.g., a string parameter can have a string child).

Policy Specification Rules

A parameter must have either a value attribute or a child

Policy Evaluation Rules
  • If a parameter has child, the value of the child is used

  • If a paramter has a value attribute, this attribute is used as a value

  • If a parameter has both, value attribute and child, the child is ignored and the value attribute is used as a value.

Example: String parameter inside a PIP
<policy id='urn:policy:cs4:showUser'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:cs4:show-project'>
    <if>
      <or>
        <equals>
          <pip:string method='urn:info:cs4:getRoleByUsername' default=''>
            <parameter:string name='userId' value='1'/> <!-- attribute value is used -->
          </pip:string>
          <constant:string value='Manager'/>
        </equals>
        <equals>
          <pip:string method='urn:info:cs4:getRoleByUsername' default=''>
            <parameter:string name='userId'> <!-- child value is used -->
              <event:string eventParameter='transactions' default='1001' jsonPathQuery="$.transactions.userId"/>
            </parameter:string>
          </pip:string>
          <constant:string value='Manager'/>
        </equals>
      </or>
      <then>
        <allow/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

External Information Sources (PIPs)

The pip elements are used to request information from a PIP. Each element returns their value (String, number, object, list, boolean). The parameters that can be added as child elements are sent to the PIP as request parameters.

The following pip elements are available:

  • <pip:string>

  • <pip:number>

  • <pip:object>

  • <pip:list>

  • <pip:boolean>

The elements have the following attributes:

Table 8. PIP attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

method

String

required

The name of a PIP method.

default

same as the pip type (string, number, boolean)

required

The value that is returned if the PIP is not reachable.

ttl

time interval notation

optional

The "time to live" value sets the time interval that the response value of the PIP is cached. The ttl follows the following syntax: (([0-9]+y)?([0-9]+w)?([0-9]+d)?([0-9]+h)?([0-9]+m)?([0-9]+s)?) (e.g., 1y), where y = years, w = weeks, d = days, h = hours, m = minutes, s = seconds. For example if the pip value should be cached for 1 week, 4 days and 2 hours it would look like "1w4d2h".

Policy Evaluation Rules
  • During the "time to live" caching time interval, the pip-elements only returns the cached value. When the time to live has elapsed, the cache is refreshed by the current value retrieved by the PIP for the next interval.

  • If the "time to live" caching time interval is not set, then the PIP is requested on each PIP element evaluation.

Example: PIP to check a role of a user
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getTransactions'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <and>
        <equals>
          <constant:string value='Banker'/>
          <pip:string method='urn:info:banking-demo:checkRole' default='' ttl="5m">
            <parameter:number name='loggedUser'/>
          </pip:string>
        </equals>
        <constant:true/>
      </and>
      <then>
        <modify eventParameter='transactions' method='replace'>
          <parameter:object name='replaceWith' value='XXX'/>
        </modify>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Number Operators

Number operators are all operators that have a number as return value.

Arithmetic functions

The functions <plus>, <minus>, <multiply> and <divide> are available to perform the arithmetical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). These four functions don’t have any attributes and have at least two number children (e.g. <constant:number>, <pip:number>, <size>).

The <size> function is used to count the number of elements in a list or the number of characters in a string. It doesn’t have any attributes, either. You can assign all child elements with a list or string return value.

Boolean Operators

Number operators are all operators that have a boolean as return value.

Basic Boolean Functions

The elements <and>, <or>, <not>, <xor> and <implies> aggregate the values of the child elements according to Boolean logic.

The following attribute can be added:

Table 9. Basic Boolean Attributes
Attribute Type Default Value Required Meaning

mode

String (LAZY, EAGER)

LAZY

optional

It is possible to choose the mode lazy or eager. Lazy evaluation means that an evaluation is stopped as soon as the result cannot change anymore. For example, as soon as the first child of an <and> is false, the other children are not evaluated. If you want to force the evalution of all children (e.g., to eventually execute a PXP), you have to set the mode to EAGER.

Child elements can be all elements with boolean return value (e.g. <constant:true>, <event:boolean>) or elements of the boolean-functions.

Policy Specification Rules
  • The <and>, <or>, <xor> and <implies> elements must have at least one child element.

  • The <not> element must have exactly one child element.

Example: Inhibit transaction if user has id 1 and the transaction amount value is greater than 10.000
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:InhibitUser1Transaction'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-money'>
    <if>
      <and>
        <equals>
          <event:string eventParameter='sts' default='' jsonPathQuery='$.simpleusers.id'/>
          <constant:string value='1'/>
        </equals>
        <greater>
          <event:number eventParameter='sts' default='0' jsonPathQuery='$.transactions.amount.value'/>
          <constant:number value='10000'/>
        </greater>
      </and>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Comparison Functions

The functions <less>, <lessEqual>, <greater> and <greaterEqual> are used to compare different numbers. For instance if you want to compare the number of usages with a constant number ("must not be used more than 3 times"). These functions don’t have attributes and child elements can be elements with a number return value (like <pip:number>) and the number-functions.

The function <equals> is different, because besides numbers other values can be compared with each other. For example, it is possible to compare strings like a constant string and a user name. <equals> doesn’t have an attribute, either. And besides child elements with a number return value, also elements with string, object, list and boolean return value as well as boolean-functions can be added to <equals>.

Policy Specification Rules
  • The elements <less>, <lessEqual>, <greater>, <greaterEqual> and <equals> must have at least two child elements.

  • The order is essential, e.g. for the child elements values A, B and C specified in this order, the <less> element evaluates A < B < C.

Regular Expressions

A regular expression (regex) is a formal language to describe a certain pattern or a sequence of characters. If the regex pattern matches to the child-elements value the <regex> element returns true otherwise it would return false. The <regex> element has the following attributes:

Table 10. Regex Attributes
Attribute Type Default Value Required Meaning

regex

String

-

required

The String defines the regex that is applied for matching the values of child elements. Java notation is used.

mode

enum (ALL, EXACTLY_ONE, AT_LEAST_ONE, NONE)

ALL

optional

The mode declares which or how many child element must match.

A <regex> can have the child elements with string return value and elements from the string-functions.

Policy Specification Rules
  • The <regex> element must have at least one child.

Policy Evaluation Rules
  • The <regex> element has four evaluation modes:

    • ALL: Regex must match all of the child element values.

    • EXACTLY_ONE: Regex must match exactly one of the child element values, but not more than one.

    • AT_LEAST_ONE: Regex must at least match one of the child element values.

    • NONE: Regex must not match any of the child element values.

Example: If the transaction purpose matches to "Gehalt", "Lohn", "salary" or "pay" than replace the amount
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:regexExample'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <regex regex='(Lohn)|(Gehalt)|(salary)|(pay)'>
        <event:string eventParameter='transactions' default='' jsonPathQuery='$.transactions.purpose'/>
      </regex>
      <then>
        <modify eventParameter='transactions' method='replace' jsonPathQuery='$.transactions.amount.value'>
          <parameter:object name='replaceWith' value='XXXX'/>
        </modify>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Date functions

The date functions <date>, <time>, and <day> return true if the specified date / time / date matches the current date. Thus, you can check if the event occurred before, after or at a specific date.

Example: Allow if event occurs in a specific time range
<policy id='urn:policy:cs4:Datetime1' description='test date and time functions'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:cs4:example'>
    <if>
      <and>
        <date is='before' value='15.05.2040'/>
        <date is='after' value='15.05.2001'/>
        <time is='before' value='20:30'/>
        <time is='after' value='08:30'/>
        <day value='Tuesday'/>
      </and>
      <then>
        <allow/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

The <date> compares a specified date with the current date (of the event evaluation).

Table 11. Date Attributes
Attribute Type Default Value Required Meaning

is

String

-

required

The String defines the time expressions: Before, After, Exactly

value

date

-

required

The date in the format of dd.mm.yyyy

The <time> compares a specified time with the current time (of the event evaluation).

Table 12. Time Attributes
Attribute Type Default Value Required Meaning

is

String

-

required

The String defines the time expressions: Before, After, Exactly

value

time

-

required

The time in the format of hh:mm

The <day> compares a specified day with the current day (of the event evaluation).

Table 13. Day Attributes
Attribute Type Default Value Required Meaning

value

String

-

required

Or-linked, comma separated list of days that match: Tuesday,Friday,Sunday

Example: This policy allows the event when it is Tuesday and it is between 08:30 and 17:00 until the date 15.05.2020
<policy id='urn:policy:cs4:Datetime'>
   <mechanism event='urn:action:cs4:show-tasks'>
      <if>
         <and>
            <date is='before' value='15.05.2020'/>
            <time is='before' value='17:00'/>
            <time is='after' value='08:30'/>
            <day value='Tuesday'/>
         </and>
         <then>
            <allow/>
         </then>
      </if>
   </mechanism>
</policy>

Execution of external events

Execute Actions are actions that security policies can trigger in the system. They are specified using the <execute> tag. Execute actions return a Boolean value indicating the execution success.

Table 14. Execute Attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

action

String

required

The name of action to be executed in an PXP.

Child elements can be all elements of the parameter-group. They serve as input parameters for the corresponding execution function. The mandatory and optional parameters depend on the selected execute action.

Example: PXP at different places
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:log_Message'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-accounts'>
    <if>
      <execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:notifyAdmin'>
          <parameter:string name='message' value='Dear admin, user trying to access accounts.'/>
      </execute>
      <then>
        <allow/>
        <execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:logNotification'>
          <parameter:string name='message' value='Granted access to accounts.'/>
        </execute>
      </then>
    </if>
    <else>
      <inhibit/>
    </else>
    <execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:logNotification'>
          <parameter:string name='message' value='Access to account'/>
    </execute>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Checking if a list contains certain elements

<contains> can be used to verify whether a list contains a certain value. For instance, to verify whether the list "[Policy Language, Policy]" contains the string "Policy".

A <contains> element has a "mode" attribute that declares how many child element must match.

It must contain a list as first child and any number of arbitrary elements as further children.

Table 15. Contains Attributes
Attribute Type Default Value Required Meaning

mode

enum (ALL, EXACTLY_ONE, AT_LEAST_ONE, NONE)

ALL

optional

The mode declares how many child element must match.

Example: If the accounts contains either IBAN "DE00999940000000000000" or "DE00999940000400000000" (xor) than inhibit.
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:containsExample'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-accounts'>
    <if>
      <contains mode='EXACTLY_ONE'>
        <event:list eventParameter='accounts' default='0' jsonPathQuery='$..iban'/>
        <constant:string value='DE00999940000000000000'/>
        <constant:string value='DE00999940000400000000'/>
      </contains>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>
Policy Specification Rules
  • The <contains> element must have at least two child elements

  • The order is essential, e.g. for the child elements values A, B and C specified in this order, the <contains> element evaluates whether A contains B and C.

  • In <contains> all child values have to be the same. (It is only possible to compare list of numbers with number, list of string with string,…​).

Policy Evaluation Rules
  • The <contains> element has four evaluation modes:

    • ALL: The first value must match all of the following element values.

    • EXACTLY_ONE: The first value must match exactly one of the following element values, but not more than one.

    • AT_LEAST_ONE: The first value must at least match one of the following element values.

    • NONE: The first value must not match any of the following element values.

Checking whether an event has a specific parameter

To check whether an event has certain parameters the <eventHasParameter> element can be used. Like the <regex> and the <contains> element the <eventHasParameter> has the following mode attribute:

Table 16. eventHasParameter Attributes
Attribute Type Default Value Required Meaning

mode

enum (ALL, EXACTLY_ONE, AT_LEAST_ONE, NONE)

ALL

no

The mode declares how many child element must match.

Because <eventHasParameter> refers to a name of an event parameter, it can only have child elements which return string values.

Example: Log event if user id is empty (event has no parameter $.id)
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:eventHasParameterExample'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-userForStats'>
    <if>
      <eventHasParameter mode='NONE'>
        <event:string eventParameter='user' default='' jsonPathQuery='$.id'/>
      </eventHasParameter>
      <then>
        <execute action='urn:action:banking-demo:logNotification'>
          <parameter:string name='message' value='user id is empty'/>
        </execute>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>
Policy Specification Rules
  • The <eventHasParameter> element must have at least one child element

Policy Evaluation Rules
  • The <eventHasParameter> element has four evaluation modes:

    • ALL: All child element values have to be an event parameter.

    • EXACTLY_ONE: Exactly one child element value has to be an event parameter, but not more than one.

    • AT_LEAST_ONE: At least one child element value has to be an event parameter.

    • NONE: No child element value has to be a event parameter.

String Operators

String Concatenation (concat)

<concat> concatenates all values of child elements to a string. It is possible to add any number and kinds of children.

Example: This policy prevents showing data if complete employee name is not on the list of priviledged employees
<policy id='urn:policy:cs4:showEmployees'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:cs4:showEmployees'>
    <if>
      <not>
        <contains>
          <pip:list method='urn:info:cs4:getAllPriviledgedEmployees' default='[]'/>
          <concat>
            <event:string eventParameter='user' default='' jsonPathQuery='$.firstName'/>
            <constant:string value=''/>
            <event:string eventParameter='user' default='' jsonPathQuery='$.lastName'/>
          </concat>
        </contains>
      </not>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>
Policy Specification Rules
  • The <concat> element must have at least one child element

Policy Evaluation Rules

For lists and objects, the toString() method is called, which might result in unwanted effects.

Object Operators

Object operators return a complex object that can be application specific (e.g. "com.example.Transaction" or "de.beispiel.User"). All operations on these objects are done on their Json representation, as we do not know the class declaration. To work with complex objects, you can use JsonPath. To simplify the handling of these objects, our policy editor supports auto completion to navigate the Json structure. Direct comparison can be done using <equals>.

List Operators

List operators return a list of values or objects, which can be of any type. Again, you can use JsonPath to work with lists. Furthermore, you can use the <contains> function to check if a list contains a certain value or object.

The list operators are <variable:list>, <constant:list>, <parameter:list>, <event:list>, and <pip:list>.

Working with Variables

If you are reusing the same value at different positions in the policy, you can use variables. Variables are declared using variableDeclarations and referenced by variables inside conditions or parameters. At runtime, a variable value is set once per policy and request. The value is then shared by all mechanisms of the policy.

VariableDeclarations are defined directly below the root element <policy>.

<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getTransactions'>
  <variableDeclaration:string name='RoleLoggedUser'>
    <pip:string method='urn:info:banking-demo:checkRole' default=''>
      <parameter:number name='loggedUser' value='1'/>
    </pip:string>
  </variableDeclaration:string>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-bankusers'>
    ...
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Based on the data types, the following variableDeclarations are available:

  • <variableDeclaration:string>

  • <variableDeclaration:number>

  • <variableDeclaration:object>

  • <variableDeclaration:list>

  • <variableDeclaration:boolean>

VariableDeclarations are basically key-value pairs. The name is used to refer to the variable and is defined as an attribute:

Table 17. variableDeclaration attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

name

String

required

The name of the variableDeclaration used to refer to it. Must be unique per policy.

The variableDeclaration’s value stems from the child element of the variableDeclaration. The following example shows a declaration of a boolean variable RoleLoggedUser, that takes a PIP value. The benefit of this construct is, that the PIP is only called once per policy and not everytime it is referenced.

Policy Evaluation Rules

A variable declaration is only evaluated once per policy and event. This is especially important if you are using PIPs or PXPs that can change their value on repeated evaluation. This means for example: If a policy contains 5 mechanisms referencing a variable based on a PIP, this PIP is only queried once and the result is used by all mechanisms.

To reference a variable value inside a condition or parameter, the following variables can be used:

  • <variable:string>

  • <variable:number>

  • <variable:object>

  • <variable:list>

  • <variable:boolean>

Every element has the reference attribute:

Table 18. Variable attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

reference

String

required

The reference name to a variableDeclaration.

Example: Variable used to reference a PIP value
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getTransactions'>
  <variableDeclaration:string name='RoleLoggedUser'>
    <pip:string method='urn:info:banking-demo:checkRole' default=''>
      <parameter:number name='loggedUser' value='1'/>
    </pip:string>
  </variableDeclaration:string>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-bankusers'>
    <if>
      <or>
        <equals>
          <variable:string reference='RoleLoggedUser'/>
          <constant:string value='Customer'/>
        </equals>
        <equals>
          <variable:string reference='RoleLoggedUser'/>
          <constant:string value='External'/>
        </equals>
      </or>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Working with the Event History

In order to express certain usage control obligations, it is necessary to refer to events that occurred in the past. For example, if you want to prevent a file to be printed more than 3 times, this information must be stored. For this purpose, we offer an event history with three basic query types:

  • counting specific events in a certain time range

  • checking if a value changed since the last evaluation

  • checking if an event occurs periodically

Policy Evaluation Rules
  • Events are only stored in the event history, if there is a policy that requires it by the usage of a event history operator

  • All event information (ID and parameters) are hashed in the event history to guarantee privacy

  • Events are deleted if they are needed anymore by any policy

Counting of Events

With <count>, it is possible to express the cardinal and temporal aspects. It is used to count the number of event occurrences in a certain time interval. Thus, it has exactly two children:

  • <eventOccurrence> is used refer to certain event(s) you want to count

  • <when> is used to define a time range for the counting

In the following, you see an example counting the number of times the event "get-money" occurred this year for the customer with ID "5".

Example: Counting get-money events
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:getTransactionsExample'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <greaterEqual>
        <count>
          <eventOccurrence event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-money'>
            <parameter:number name="customerID" value="5"/>
          <eventOccurrence>
          <when>
            <start time='1.1.* 00:00'/>
          </when>
        </count>
        <constant:number value='15'/>
      </greaterEqual>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Evaluation of Periodic Events

With the <continuousOccurrence> element it is possible to evaluate, if an event occurred periodically during a certain time interval. Just like <count>, it has exactly two children:

  • <eventOccurrence> is used refer to certain event(s) you want to count

  • <when> is used to define a time range for the counting

However, there are the following additional attributes:

Table 19. continuousOccurrence attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

interval

String

required

The interval declares the time interval in which an event has to occur to fulfill the condition, for example "1 year". It has follow the following syntax: (([0-9]+y)?([0-9]+w)?([0-9]+d)?([0-9]+h)?([0-9]+m)?([0-9]+s)?) (e.g., 1y), where y = years, w = weeks, d = days, h = hours, m = minutes, s = seconds.

minOccurrences

number

optional

Declares the minimum number of occurrences until the condition is fulfilled.

maxOccurrences

number

optional

Declares the maximum number of Occurrences that the condition is fulfilled.

The following example shows a policy that inhibits an event if the user was not notified at least once a day since the beginning of the year.

Example: continuousOccurrence
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:continuousOccurrenceExample'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
    	<not>
	      <continuousOccurrence interval='1d' minOccurrences='1'>
	        <eventOccurrence event='urn:action:banking-demo:notify-user'/>
	        <when>
	        	<start time='1.1.* 00:00"/>
	        </when>
	      </continuousOccurrence>
        </not>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Evaluation of Changes over Time

When using the <valueChanged> function, the system checks if the return value of the child has changed between the last evaluation cycle and this evaluation cycle to the value defined in the attribute. The <valueChanged> element only returns true if the value is changed. The following valueChanged elements are available:

  • <valueChanged:string>

  • <valueChanged:number>

  • <valueChanged:object>

  • <valueChanged:list>

  • <valueChanged:boolean>

<valueChanged> has the following optional attribute:

Table 20. valueChanged attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

to

Boolean

optional

Defines if the value of the child element changed to true or false.

id

String (UUID)

required

Defines a UUID for the valueChanged block within the current policy. Automatically generated by our editor.

Child elements can be all elements with matching return value (e.g. <constant:true>, <event:boolean> for valueChanged:boolean, <constant:string>, <event:string> for valueChanged:string) or elements of the <boolean-functions, <string-functions, number-functions.

Policy Specification Rules
  • The <valueChanged> element must have exactly one child.

Example: As soon as the number of show-user events is greater than 5, a notification is sent to the logs.
<policy id='urn:policy:cs4:valueChanged'>
   <variableDeclaration:number name='numberAccess'>
      <count>
         <eventOccurrence event='urn:action:cs4:show-user'/>
         <when fixedTime='today'/>
      </count>
   </variableDeclaration:number>
   <mechanism event='urn:action:cs4:show-project'>
      <if>
         <valueChanged to='true' id='vc1'>
            <greater>
               <variable:number reference='numberAccess'/>
               <constant:number value='5'/>
            </greater>
         </valueChanged>
         <then>
            <execute action='urn:action:cs4:logNotification'>
               <parameter:string name='message' value='Users where display more than 5 times today'/>
            </execute>
         </then>
      </if>
   </mechanism>
</policy>

Referring to an Event in the Event History

To refer to an event, the <eventOccurrence> element is used. It can be used inside a <count> or <continuousOccurrence> tag. The element has the following attributes:

Table 21. eventOccurrence attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

event

String

required

Declares the event. The event id follows this pattern: urn:action:<scope>:<identifier>

mode

String

optional

Possible values are "FIRST" or "LAST", to get the first or last eventOccurrence.

Example: Event Occurrence of urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:containsExample'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <greater>
        <count>
          <eventOccurrence event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'/>
          <thisMonth/>
        </count>
        <constant:number value='100'/>
      </greater>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Working with Time Spans

To work with the event history, it is essential to define a time span in which you are looking for an event. For example, you might look for certain events yesterday, or in the last 45 minutes. <when> is used to express these time specifications inside <continuousOccurrence> and <count>.

Time spans can be defined using fixed (predefined) time spans as an attribute, or using custom time spans as children.

Policy Evaluation Rules

Fixed time spans override custom time spans.

Fixed Time Spans

The easiest way to work with time spans is to use predefined or fixed time spans as an attribute of <when>. The following table shows you all available time spans, including an example for each.

Table 22. fixedTimes with examples
Expression Description Event occurrance date (now) Resulting start Resulting end

thisMinute

event occurred within this minute

06.02.2018 10:35:30

06.02.2018 10:35:00

06.02.2018 10:35:30

lastMinute

event occurred within the last 60 seconds

06.02.2018 10:35:30

06.02.2018 10:34:00

06.02.2018 10:34:59

thisHour

event occurred within this hour

06.02.2018 10:35:30

06.02.2018 10:00:00

06.02.2018 10:35:30

lastHour

event occurred within the last 60 minutes

06.02.2018 10:35:30

06.02.2018 09:00:00

06.02.2018 09:59:59

today

event occurred today

06.02.2018 10:35:30

06.02.2018 00:00:00

06.02.2018 10:35:30

yesterday

event occurred yesterday

06.02.2018 10:35:30

05.02.2018 00:00:00

05.02.2018 23:59:59

thisMonth

event occurred this month

06.02.2018 10:35:30

01.02.2018 00:00:00

06.02.2018 10:35:30

lastMonth

event occurred last month

06.02.2018 10:35:30

01.01.2018 00:00:00

31.01.2018 23:59:59

thisYear

event occurred this year

06.02.2018 10:35:30

01.01.2018 00:00:00

06.02.2018 10:35:30

lastYear

event occurred last year

06.02.2018 10:35:30

01.01.2017 00:00:00

31.12.2017 23:59:59

thisWeek

event occurred this week (Monday to Sunday)

06.02.2018 10:35:30

05.02.2018 00:00:00

06.02.2018 10:35:30

lastWeek

event occurred last week (Monday to Sunday)

06.02.2018 10:35:30

29.01.2018 00:00:00

04.02.2018 23:59:59

thisSunWeek

event occurred this week (Sunday to Saturday)

06.02.2018 10:35:30

04.02.2018 00:00:00

06.02.2018 10:35:30

lastSunWeek

event occurred last week (Sunday to Saturday)

06.02.2018 10:35:30

28.01.2018 00:00:00

03.02.2018 23:59:59

always

event occurred, no matter when

06.02.2018 10:35:30

01.01.1970 00:00:00

06.02.2018 10:35:30

Example: Inhibit action if event get-money was already fired more than 15 times in this minute
<policy id='urn:policy:banking-demo:ExamplePolicy'>
  <mechanism event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-transactions'>
    <if>
      <greaterEqual>
        <count>
          <eventOccurrence event='urn:action:banking-demo:get-money'/>
          <when fixedTime="thisMinute"/>
        </count>
        <constant:number value='15'/>
      </greaterEqual>
      <then>
        <inhibit/>
      </then>
    </if>
  </mechanism>
</policy>

Dynamic Time Spans

To define a custom time span, <start> and <end> can be used as children of <when>. With these to elements, you can define a time span based on absolute dates (e.g., 04.02.2018), or on dates that are relative to now or to a certain event (e.g., in the last 5 minutes).

The <start> and <end> elements have the following attribute:

Table 23. start and end attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

time

time reference

required

Declares the absolute or relative point in time for start or end.

Absolute Dates

Time references follows the following syntax: DD.MM.YYYY hh:mm in 24 hour format. So, if you want to define a time span with absolute dates, you can just do like in the following example:

Example: Dynamic time spans with absolute dates
<when>
	<start time="01.01.2018 00:00" />
	<end time="31.06.2018 00:00" />
</when>

However, this is not sufficient to express flexible time spans like "in the last 5 minutes". To do this, we use a special notation to override the individual date parts (day, month, year, hour, minute):

Wildcard

Relacing a part with an asterisk * overwrites the value of the absolute date with the value of the current date.

Example: Wildcard
<when>
	<start time="*01.*.* 00:00" /> <!-- The first of the current month in the current year at 00:00 -->
</when>
Substraction

Replacing a part of the date with a -<n> subtracts n to the value of the current date*.

Example: Substraction
<when>
	<start time="*.*.* *:-5" /> <!-- Five minutes ago -->
</when>
Addition

Replacing a part with a +<n> adds n to the value of the current date*.

Example: Addition
<when>
	<start time="*.*.* -1:+5" /> <!-- started 55 minutes ago -->
</when>
Event References

Both <start> and <end> can have a <eventOccurrence> child. In this case, the declared event is used as a reference for the time calculation, not the current one.

Example: Event References in when
<when>
	<start time="*.-1.* *:*:*"> <!-- started one month before the first occurrence of the event B -->
    	 <eventOccurrence event="B" mode="FIRST"/>
	</start>
	<end time="*.*.* *:-5" /> <!-- ends five minutes ago from NOW -->
</when>
Policy Evaluation Rules
  • As we (unfortunately) cannot look into the future, the end is always the current date of evaluation (e.g., "1.1.+1000 00:00" will not make much sense and is equivalent to "*.*.* *:*" (now)).

  • fixedTimes overwrite dynamic time stamps

Working with Cron Jobs

Sometimes it is necessary to evaluate a policy independently of a system event, or in a regular manner. To stick with the Event-Condition-Action paradigm, timers can be set that regularly trigger events. These events are handled exactly like "normal" events.

These <timer> are NOT part of an actual policy, but are configured separately via our UI or API (as they might trigger several policies at the same time).

A <timer> can have the following attributes:

Table 24. Timer attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

id

URN

required

The unique ID of the timer. Syntax: urn:timer:<solution>:<id>

cron

cron

required

Describes the time interval to fire an event in cron syntax.

description

String

optional

Description of the timer.

A <timer> must contain at least one <event> child, declaring the event to be triggered. Like normal events, it has an event ID (as parameter) and a list of parameters as children. The <timeEvent> has the following attribute:

Table 25. Event attributes
Attribute Type Required Meaning

action

String

required

Defines the event id.

The following example shows a timer that triggers the event "regular-check" every day at 1:01.

Example timer
<timer cron='0 1 1 * * ?' id='urn:timer:banking-demo:check'>
  <event action='urn:action:banking-demo:regular-check'>
    <parameter:number name='processID' value='12'/>
  </event>
</timer>