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Compositional Information Flow Monitoring for Reactive Programs

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posted on 09.06.2022, 19:56 authored by McKenna McCallMcKenna McCall, Abhishek Bichhawat, Limin JiaLimin Jia

To prevent applications from leaking users' private data to attackers, researchers have developed runtime information flow control (IFC) mechanisms. Most existing approaches are either based on taint tracking or multi-execution, and the same technique is used to protect the entire application. However, today's applications are typically composed of multiple components from heterogenous and unequally trusted sources. The goal of this paper is to develop a framework to enable the flexible composition of IFC enforcement mechanisms. More concretely, we focus on reactive programs, which is an abstract model for event-driven programs including web and mobile applications. We formalize the semantics of existing IFC enforcement mechanisms with well-defined interfaces for composition, define knowledge-based security guarantees that can precisely quantify the effect of implicit leaks from taint tracking, and prove sound all composed systems that we instantiate the framework with. We identify requirements for future enforcement mechanisms to be securely composed in our framework. Finally, we implement a prototype in OCaml and compare the effects of different compositions.


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