Difference Between MAC and DAC (With Table)

The provision of security is very vital and essential and vital in the case of automated systems. Thus, various mechanisms are required by most systems for ensuring information security. However, the users need to undergo an authentication process. When the personal information and details are provided by the user, then it is considered as the user is authorised.

Sometimes, information like username and password are generally asked by the system for the user to enter. The system can be accessed only when the username and password entered is correct and valid. The next step after the process of authentication is authorisation. This process determines the grant of permission to any authenticated user. Access authorisation is done by access control. Thus, MAC and DAC are two types of access control methods.

MAC vs DAC

The difference between MAC and DAC is that MAC is a method through which access to the resource is controlled according to the level of clearance of the user. Whereas DAC is a method through which the determination of the access is done by the owner of the resource. In short, both MAC and DAC are access control methods.

MAC is an access control method, and it restricts the resources from accessing depending upon the clearance level of the subjects. The full form of MAC is Mandatory Access Control. Access is provided to the users, which is dependent on the level of clearance of users in the case of MAC. MAC is less flexible in comparison to DAC. From a security point of view, MAC is a secure system. MAC can be complex. Thus its implementation is harder.

DAC is an access control method, and here the resource’s owner restricts access to the users based on their identity. The full form of DAC is Discretionary Access Control. In the case of DAC, all the privileges and the determination access power us with the owner itself. DAC is more flexible in comparison to MAC. DAC is less secured in comparison to MAC. The implementation of DAC is comparatively easier than MAC.

Comparison Table Between MAC and DAC

Parameters of ComparisonMACDAC
DefinitionMAC is an access control method, and it restricts the resources from accessing depending upon the clearance level of the subjects.DAC is an access control method, and here the resource’s owner restricts access to the users based on their identity.
Full-FormMandatory Access Control. Discretionary Access Control.
FlexibilityMAC is less flexible. DAC is more flexible in comparison to MAC.
SecurityMAC is a secure system. DAC is less secured in comparison to MAC.
BasisAccess is provided to the users, which is dependent on the level of clearance of users in the case of MAC.In DAC, all the privileges and the determination access power us with the owner itself.
ImplementationMAC can be complex. Thus its implementation is harder. The implementation of DAC is comparatively easier than MAC.

What is MAC?

The full form of MAC is Mandatory Access Control. In the Mandatory Access Control method, the access given is not determined by the owner but by the system. Military or government-based systems, which are highly sensitive and stores confidential data, generally used a MAC or Mandatory Access Control type of system.

In this system of MAC, all subjects and resources are assigned a label on them. The label assigned is a label of security, and it specifies the trust level. To access the resource, the user must have a higher or equal sensitivity level even from the level of the bass resource.

What is DAC?

The full form of DAC is Discretionary Access Control. DAC is an access control method, and here the resource’s owner restricts access to the users based on their identity. Any directory, file or anything which is accessible by the network is considered a resource. The permission to access the resource is given to other users by the DAC.

Here the operations such as to execute, write, read or sharing the resource are allowed. The ownership of the access can be transferred here. Talking in a general sense, DAC is very flexible and an easy access control method. DAC is not as secure as other access methods available in the market. The ownership of the is fully retained with the resource. The resource provides total control to others.

Main Differences Between MAC and DAC

  1. MAC is an access control method, and it restricts the resources from accessing depending upon the clearance level of the subjects. However, DAC is an access control method, and here the resource’s owner restricts access to the users based on their identity.
  2. The full form of MAC is Mandatory Access Control. Whereas the full form of DAC is Discretionary Access Control.
  3. Access is provided to the users, which is dependent on the level of clearance of users in the case of MAC. Whereas, in the case of DAC, all the privileges and the determination access power us with the owner itself.
  4. MAC is less flexible. Whereas DAC is more flexible in comparison to MAC.
  5. From a security point of view, MAC is a secure system. Whereas DAC is less secured in comparison to MAC.
  6. MAC can be complex. Thus its implementation is harder. Whereas the implementation of DAC is comparatively easier than MAC.

Conclusion

MAC is an access control method, and it restricts the resources from accessing depending upon the clearance level of the subjects. However, DAC is an access control method, and here the resource’s owner restricts access to the users based on their identity. It is believed that DAC is more suitable for those systems which require low-level security or general security.

Meanwhile, MAC is most suitable for those systems which contain highly confidential and sensitive data. The provision of security is very vital and essential and vital in the case of automated systems. MAC and DAC are two such access control methods for providing security to systems.

References

  1. https://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings-article/sp/1990/20600190/12OmNC8uRBM
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-31540-4_4

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