Jensen, Thomas and Kirchner, Florent and Pichardie, David - Secure the Clones

lmcs:801 - Logical Methods in Computer Science, May 31, 2012, Volume 8, Issue 2
Secure the Clones

Authors: Jensen, Thomas and Kirchner, Florent and Pichardie, David

Exchanging mutable data objects with untrusted code is a delicate matter because of the risk of creating a data space that is accessible by an attacker. Consequently, secure programming guidelines for Java stress the importance of using defensive copying before accepting or handing out references to an internal mutable object. However, implementation of a copy method (like clone()) is entirely left to the programmer. It may not provide a sufficiently deep copy of an object and is subject to overriding by a malicious sub-class. Currently no language-based mechanism supports secure object cloning. This paper proposes a type-based annotation system for defining modular copy policies for class-based object-oriented programs. A copy policy specifies the maximally allowed sharing between an object and its clone. We present a static enforcement mechanism that will guarantee that all classes fulfil their copy policy, even in the presence of overriding of copy methods, and establish the semantic correctness of the overall approach in Coq. The mechanism has been implemented and experimentally evaluated on clone methods from several Java libraries.

DOI : 10.2168/LMCS-8(2:5)2012
Volume: Volume 8, Issue 2
Published on: May 31, 2012
Submitted on: September 17, 2011
Keywords: Computer Science - Programming Languages,I.1.2, F.3.1, F.3.3, D.3.3


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