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Automated testing for RBAC policies

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Access control is necessary for information assurance in many of today's applications such as banking and electronic health record. Access control breaches are critical security problems that can result from

Access control is necessary for information assurance in many of today's applications such as banking and electronic health record. Access control breaches are critical security problems that can result from unintended and improper implementation of security policies. Security testing can help identify security vulnerabilities early and avoid unexpected expensive cost in handling breaches for security architects and security engineers. The process of security testing which involves creating tests that effectively examine vulnerabilities is a challenging task. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) has been widely adopted to support fine-grained access control. However, in practice, due to its complexity including role management, role hierarchy with hundreds of roles, and their associated privileges and users, systematically testing RBAC systems is crucial to ensure the security in various domains ranging from cyber-infrastructure to mission-critical applications. In this thesis, we introduce i) a security testing technique for RBAC systems considering the principle of maximum privileges, the structure of the role hierarchy, and a new security test coverage criterion; ii) a MTBDD (Multi-Terminal Binary Decision Diagram) based representation of RBAC security policy including RHMTBDD (Role Hierarchy MTBDD) to efficiently generate effective positive and negative security test cases; and iii) a security testing framework which takes an XACML-based RBAC security policy as an input, parses it into a RHMTBDD representation and then generates positive and negative test cases. We also demonstrate the efficacy of our approach through case studies.

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  • 2014