Model checking for verification of mandatory access control models and properties

Vincent C. Hu, D. Richard Kuhn, Tao Xie, Jeehyun Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mandatory access control (MAC) mechanisms control which users or processes have access to which resources in a system. MAC policies are increasingly specified to facilitate managing and maintaining access control. However, the correct specification of the policies is a very challenging problem. To formally and precisely capture the security properties that MAC should adhere to, MAC models are usually written to bridge the rather wide gap in abstraction between policies and mechanisms. In this paper, we propose a general approach for property verification for MAC models. The approach defines a standardized structure for MAC models, providing for both property verification and automated generation of test cases. The approach expresses MAC models in the specification language of a model checker and expresses generic access control properties in the property language. Then the approach uses the model checker to verify the integrity, coverage, and confinement of these properties for the MAC models and finally generates test cases via combinatorial covering array for the system implementations of the models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-127
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Access control
  • model
  • policy
  • testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Artificial Intelligence


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