Technical Report Results

Technical Report TR667:
Towards Automatic Reverse Engineering of Software Security Configuration

Rui Wang, XiaoFeng Wang, Kehuan Zhang, Zhuowei Li
(Jul 2008), 12 pages
The specifications of an application's security configuration are crucial for understanding its security policies, which can be very helpful in security-related contexts such as misconfiguration detection. Such specifications, however, are often ill-documented, or even close because of the increasing use of graphic user interfaces to set program options. In this paper, we propose ConfigRE, a new technique for automatic reverse engineering of an application's access-control configurations. Our approach first partitions a configuration input into fields, and then identifies the semantic relations among these fields and the roles they play in enforcing an access control policy. Based upon such knowledge, ConfigRE automatically generates a specification language to describe the syntactic relations of these fields. The language can be converted into a scanner using standard parser generators for scanning configuration files and discovering the security policies specified in an application. We implemented ConfigRE in our research and evaluated it against real applications. The experiment results demonstrate the efficacy of our approach.

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