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An OLAP (On-line Analytic Processing) system with insufficient security countermeasures may disclose sensitive information and breach an individual's privacy. Both unauthorized accesses and malicious inferences may lead to such inappropriate disclosures. Existing access control models in relational databases are unsuitable for the multi-dimensional data cubes used by OLAP. Inference control methods in statistical databases are expensive and apply to limited situations only. We first devise a flexible framework for specifying authorization objects in data cubes. The framework can partition a data cube both vertically based on dimension hierarchies and horizontally based on slices of data. We then study how to control inferences in data cubes. The proposed method eliminates both unauthorized accesses and malicious inferences. Its effectiveness does not depend on specific types of aggregation functions, external knowledge, or sensitivity criteria. The technique is efficient and readily implementable. Its on-line performance overhead is comparable to that of the minimal security requirement. Its enforcement requires little modification to existing OLAP systems.
Date of Conference: 9-12 May 2004