Engineering Secure Software and Systems

Volume 6542 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 209-220

Authorization Enforcement Usability Case Study

  • Steffen BartschAffiliated withTechnologie-Zentrum Informatik TZI, Universität Bremen

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Authorization is a key aspect in secure software development of multi-user applications. Authorization is often enforced in the program code with enforcement statements. Since authorization is present in numerous places, defects in the enforcement are difficult to discover. One approach to this challenge is to improve the developer usability with regard to authorization. We analyze how software development is affected by authorization in a real-world case study and particularly focus on the loose-coupling properties of authorization frameworks that separate authorization policy from enforcement. We show that authorization is a significant aspect in software development and that the effort can be reduced through appropriate authorization frameworks. Lastly, we formulate advice on the design of enforcement APIs.