Publication Date



Technical Report: UTEP-CS-10-07


Application-level security has become an issue in recent years; for example, errors, discrepancies and omissions in the specification of access control constraints of security-sensitive software components are recognized as an important source for security vulnerabilities. We propose to formally specify access control assumptions or constraints of a program module and enforce them at run-time. We call such specifications access control contracts. To realize access control contracts, we extended the JML language, a formal interface specification language for Java, and developed a prototype support tool that translates access control contracts to runtime checks. The access control contract reduces the vulnerability that a security-sensitive module be exploited to compromise the overall security of a software system. It also facilitates practicing the principle of "security by design" by providing both a practical programming tool and a foundation for formally reasoning about security properties of program modules.