, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 59-91

A Per Model of Secure Information Flow in Sequential Programs

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Abstract

This paper proposes an extensional semantics-based formal specification of secure information-flow properties in sequential programs based on representing degrees of security by partial equivalence relations (pers). The specification clarifies and unifies a number of specific correctness arguments in the literature and connections to other forms of program analysis. The approach is inspired by (and in the deterministic case equivalent to) the use of partial equivalence relations in specifying binding-time analysis, and is thus able to specify security properties of higher-order functions and “partially confidential data”. We also show how the per approach can handle nondeterminism for a first-order language, by using powerdomain semantics and show how probabilistic security properties can be formalised by using probabilistic powerdomain semantics. We illustrate the usefulness of the compositional nature of the security specifications by presenting a straightforward correctness proof for a simple type-based security analysis.