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2018-05-09
Acar, Y., Backes, M., Fahl, S., Garfinkel, S., Kim, D., Mazurek, M. L., Stransky, C..  2017.  Comparing the Usability of Cryptographic APIs. 2017 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP). :154–171.
Potentially dangerous cryptography errors are well-documented in many applications. Conventional wisdom suggests that many of these errors are caused by cryptographic Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that are too complicated, have insecure defaults, or are poorly documented. To address this problem, researchers have created several cryptographic libraries that they claim are more usable, however, none of these libraries have been empirically evaluated for their ability to promote more secure development. This paper is the first to examine both how and why the design and resulting usability of different cryptographic libraries affects the security of code written with them, with the goal of understanding how to build effective future libraries. We conducted a controlled experiment in which 256 Python developers recruited from GitHub attempt common tasks involving symmetric and asymmetric cryptography using one of five different APIs. We examine their resulting code for functional correctness and security, and compare their results to their self-reported sentiment about their assigned library. Our results suggest that while APIs designed for simplicity can provide security benefits - reducing the decision space, as expected, prevents choice of insecure parameters - simplicity is not enough. Poor documentation, missing code examples, and a lack of auxiliary features such as secure key storage, caused even participants assigned to simplified libraries to struggle with both basic functional correctness and security. Surprisingly, the availability of comprehensive documentation and easy-to-use code examples seems to compensate for more complicated APIs in terms of functionally correct results and participant reactions, however, this did not extend to security results. We find it particularly concerning that for about 20% of functionally correct tasks, across libraries, participants believed their code was secure when it was not. Our results suggest that while ne- cryptographic libraries that want to promote effective security should offer a simple, convenient interface, this is not enough: they should also, and perhaps more importantly, ensure support for a broad range of common tasks and provide accessible documentation with secure, easy-to-use code examples.
2018-02-02
Brunner, M., Huber, M., Sauerwein, C., Breu, R..  2017.  Towards an Integrated Model for Safety and Security Requirements of Cyber-Physical Systems. 2017 IEEE International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability and Security Companion (QRS-C). :334–340.

Increasing interest in cyber-physical systems with integrated computational and physical capabilities that can interact with humans can be identified in research and practice. Since these systems can be classified as safety- and security-critical systems the need for safety and security assurance and certification will grow. Moreover, these systems are typically characterized by fragmentation, interconnectedness, heterogeneity, short release cycles, cross organizational nature and high interference between safety and security requirements. These properties combined with the assurance of compliance to multiple standards, carrying out certification and re-certification, and the lack of an approach to model, document and integrate safety and security requirements represent a major challenge. In order to address this gap we developed a domain agnostic approach to model security and safety requirements in an integrated view to support certification processes during design and run-time phases of cyber-physical systems.

2014-10-24
Breaux, T.D., Hibshi, H., Rao, A, Lehker, J..  2012.  Towards a framework for pattern experimentation: Understanding empirical validity in requirements engineering patterns. Requirements Patterns (RePa), 2012 IEEE Second International Workshop on. :41-47.

Despite the abundance of information security guidelines, system developers have difficulties implementing technical solutions that are reasonably secure. Security patterns are one possible solution to help developers reuse security knowledge. The challenge is that it takes experts to develop security patterns. To address this challenge, we need a framework to identify and assess patterns and pattern application practices that are accessible to non-experts. In this paper, we narrowly define what we mean by patterns by focusing on requirements patterns and the considerations that may inform how we identify and validate patterns for knowledge reuse. We motivate this discussion using examples from the requirements pattern literature and theory in cognitive psychology.