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A Type System for Access Control in an Object-Oriented Language
{ Wed, 16 Dec 2009, 14h30 }

By: Mário Pires

Access control to objects in traditional object-oriented languages consists of visibility modifiers, such as "public" and "private". Similar solutions are statically verified at compile time, but once an access policy is established, it cannot be modified at runtime. However, in most applications, more flexible access control mechanisms are required, enabling, for example, dynamic modification of a principal's access privileges. It would be desirable to check such dinamically imposed access control policies also statically, at least partially. In this work, we introduce User Views - object references that have information about the current privileges (a policy) held by a principal to a given object. To support dynamic modification of a user view's policy, we introduce first class Authorizations, allowing different aliases to have different policies over the same object. To demonstrate our concepts, we have developed a core language, equipped with a provably correct type and effect system capable of detecting unauthorized method calls at compile time. We have also implemented a typechecking algorithm, resulting in a tool to verify the integrity of protected objects in a system designed with the core language.


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