Requirements-based Access Control Analysis and Policy Specification (ReCAPS)

Qingfeng He, Annie I. Antón
2009 Information and Software Technology  
HE, QINGFENG. Requirements-Based Access Control Analysis and Policy Specification. (Under the direction of Dr. Ana (Annie) I. Antón.) Access control is a mechanism for achieving confidentiality and integrity in software systems. Access control policies (ACPs) define how access is managed and the high-level rules of who can access what information under certain conditions. Traditionally, access control policies have been specified in an ad-hoc manner, leaving systems vulnerable to security
more » ... es. ACP specification is often isolated from requirements analysis, resulting in policies that are not in compliance with system requirements. This dissertation introduces the Requirements-based Access Control Analysis and Policy Specification (ReCAPS) method for deriving access control policies from various sources, including software requirements specifications (SRS), software designs, and high-level security/privacy policies. The ReCAPS method is essentially an analysis method supported by a set of heuristics and a software tool: the Security and Privacy Requirements Analysis Tool (SPRAT). The method was developed in two formative case studies and validated in two summative case studies. All four case studies involved operational systems, and ReCAPS evolved as a result of the lessons learned from applying the method to these case studies. Further validation of the method was performed via an empirical study to evaluate the usefulness and effectiveness of the approach. Results from these evaluations indicate that the process and heuristics provided by the ReCAPS method are useful for specifying database-level and application-level ACPs. Additionally, ReCAPS integrates policy specification into software development, thus providing a basic framework for ensuring compliance between different levels of policies, system requirements and software design. The method also improves the quality of requirements specifications and system designs by clarifying ambiguities and resolving conflicts across these artifacts. ii Dedicated to my mom in heaven, your heart and soul will always be with me; to my dad; and to my wife Juanli. iii Biography Acknowledgements This dissertation would not have been possible without the help and support of many people over many years. I must begin by thanking my Ph.D. advisory committee members: in particular, my advisor Dr. Annie Antón. She not only taught me how to be a good researcher, but also taught me how to be a better person. I feel very fortunate and appreciative to have her as my advisor. Dr. Ting Yu has served as a very active committee member and has given me invaluable personal and research guidance. Sincere thanks are also extended to my two other committee members, Dr.
doi:10.1016/j.infsof.2008.11.005 fatcat:6pw6rgmdhzf6vdmd32af57sday