Security Analysis and Improvement Model for Web-based Applications
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Today the web has become a major conduit for information. As the World Wide Web?s popularity continues to increase, information security on the web has become an increasing concern. Web information security is related to availability, confidentiality, and data integrity. According to the reports from http://www.securityfocus.com in May 2006, operating systems account for 9% vulnerability, web-based software systems account for 61% vulnerability, and other applications account for 30% vulnerability. In this dissertation, I present a security analysis model using the Markov Process Model. Risk analysis is conducted using fuzzy logic method and information entropy theory. In a web-based application system, security risk is most related to the current states in software systems and hardware systems, and independent of web application system states in the past. Therefore, the web-based applications can be approximately modeled by the Markov Process Model. The web-based applications can be conceptually expressed in the discrete states of (web_client_good; web_server_good, web_server_vulnerable, web_server_attacked, web_server_security_failed; database_server_good, database_server_vulnerable, database_server_attacked, database_server_security_failed) as state space in the Markov Chain. The vulnerable behavior and system response in the web-based applications are analyzed in this dissertation. The analyses focus on functional availability-related aspects: the probability of reaching a particular security failed state and the mean time to the security failure of a system. Vulnerability risk index is classified in three levels as an indicator of the level of security (low level, high level, and failed level). An illustrative application example is provided. As the second objective of this dissertation, I propose a security improvement model for the web-based applications using the GeoIP services in the formal methods. In the security improvement model, web access is authenticated in role-based access control using user logins, remote IP addresses, and physical locations as subject credentials to combine with the requested objects and privilege modes. Access control algorithms are developed for subjects, objects, and access privileges. A secure implementation architecture is presented. In summary, the dissertation has developed security analysis and improvement model for the web-based application. Future work will address Markov Process Model validation when security data collection becomes easy. Security improvement model will be evaluated in performance aspect.
Wang, Yong (2008). Security Analysis and Improvement Model for Web-based Applications. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from