Access Control Mechanisms in Named Data Networks: A Comprehensive Survey

Boubakr Nour, Hakima Khelifi, Rasheed Hussain, Spyridon Mastorakis, Hassine Moungla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Information-Centric Networking (ICN) has recently emerged as a prominent candidate for the Future Internet Architecture (FIA) that addresses existing issues with the host-centric communication model of the current TCP/IP-based Internet. Named Data Networking (NDN) is one of the most recent and active ICN architectures that provides a clean-slate approach for Internet communication. NDN provides intrinsic content security where security is directly provided to the content instead of communication channel. Among other security aspects, Access Control (AC) rules specify the privileges for the entities that can access the content. In TCP/IP-based AC systems, due to the client-server communication model, the servers control which client can access a particular content. In contrast, ICN-based networks use content names to drive communication and decouple the content from its original location. This phenomenon leads to the loss of control over the content, causing different challenges for the realization of efficient AC mechanisms. To date, considerable efforts have been made to develop various AC mechanisms in NDN. In this article, we provide a detailed and comprehensive survey of the AC mechanisms in NDN. We follow a holistic approach towards AC in NDN where we first summarize the ICN paradigm, describe the changes from channel-based security to content-based security, and highlight different cryptographic algorithms and security protocols in NDN. We then classify the existing AC mechanisms into two main categories: Encryption-based AC and Encryption-independent AC. Each category has different classes based on the working principle of AC (e.g., Attribute-based AC, Name-based AC, Identity-based AC). Finally, we present the lessons learned from the existing AC mechanisms and identify the challenges of NDN-based AC at large, highlighting future research directions for the community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Pages (from-to)1-35
JournalACM Computing Surveys
Issue number3
Early online date17 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 ACM.


  • access control mechanisms
  • Information-centric networking
  • named data networking
  • survey


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