Visible to the public A Lattice Model of Secure Information Flow

TitleA Lattice Model of Secure Information Flow
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1976
AuthorsDenning, Dorothy E.
JournalCommun. ACM
Keywordsinformation flow, lattice, program certification, protection, Science of Security Significant Paper, security, security class

This paper investigates mechanisms that guarantee secure information flow in a computer system. These mechanisms are examined within a mathematical framework suitable for formulating the requirements of secure information flow among security classes. The central component of the model is a lattice structure derived from the security classes and justified by the semantics of information flow. The lattice properties permit concise formulations of the security requirements of different existing systems and facilitate the construction of mechanisms that enforce security. The model provides a unifying view of all systems that restrict information flow, enables a classification of them according to security objectives, and suggests some new approaches. It also leads to the construction of automatic program certification mechanisms for verifying the secure flow of information through a program.


This article was identified by the SoS Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition Distinguished Experts as a Science of Security Significant Paper.

The Science of Security Paper Competition was developed to recognize and honor recently published papers that advance the science of cybersecurity. During the development of the competition, members of the Distinguished Experts group suggested that listing papers that made outstanding contributions, empirical or theoretical, to the science of cybersecurity in earlier years would also benefit the research community.

Original Publication
Citation KeyDenning:1976:LMS:360051.360056