Ensuring software security policies

Access control policies (ACPs) are becoming the new norm for security requirements for businesses to ensure software developers have a clear understanding of security policies.

12/11/2012


ISS SourceThere is a new natural language processing tool that businesses or other users can use to ensure software developers have a clear idea of the security policies they need to incorporate into new software products.

It is all about access control policies (ACPs), which are the security requirements that software developers need to bear in mind when developing new software, said researchers from North Carolina State University and IBM Research. In one case, an ACP for a university grading program needs to allow professors to give grades to students, but should not allow students to change the grades.

“These ACPs are important, but are often buried amidst a lengthy list of other requirements that customers give to developers,” said Dr. Tao Xie, an associate professor of computer science at NC State and co-author of a paper on the research. These requirements are in “natural language,” which is the conversational language people use when talking or corresponding via the written word.

Incomplete or inaccurate ACP requirements can crop up if the customer writing the ACP requirements makes a mistake or doesn’t have enough technical know-how to accurately describe a program’s security needs.

A second problem is programmers may misinterpret some ACP requirements, or overlook them entirely.

In collaboration with IBM Research, Xie’s research team has developed a solution that uses a natural language processing program to extract the ACP requirements from a customer’s overall list of requirements and translate it into machine-readable language that computers can understand and enforce.

After extracting the ACPs, they can be run through Access Control Policy Tool (ACPT) — also developed in Xie’s research team in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) — which verifies and tests the ACPs and determines whether the ACP requirements are adequate to meet the security needs of the program.

Once the ACP requirements translate into machine-readable language, they can also incorporate into a policy-enforcement “engine” in the final software product — which ensures programmers cannot overlook ACPs.

“In general, developing a program that understands natural language text is very challenging,” Xie said. “However, ACP requirements in software documents usually follow a certain style, using terms such as ‘cannot be edited’ or ‘does not have the ability to edit.’ Because ACPs tend to use such a limited number of phrases, it is much easier to develop a program that effectively translates natural language texts in this context.”



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Getting ready for industrial IoT; Visualizing the (applied) automation continuum; Preventing VFD faults and failures; Using wireless for closed-loop applications
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.