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Aura: A Programming Language with Authorization and Audit

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Mateja Jamnik.

Existing mechanisms for authorizing and auditing the flow of information in networked computer systems are insufficient to meet the security requirements of high-assurance software systems. Current best practices typically rely on operating-system provided file permissions for authorization and an ad-hoc combination of OS and network-level (e.g. firewall-level) logging to generate audit trails.

This talk will describe work on a security-oriented programming language called Aura that attempts to address this problem of auditable information flows in a more principled way. Aura supports a built-in notion of principal and its type system incorporates ideas from authorization logic and information-flow constraints. These features, together with the Aura run-time system, enforce strong information-flow policies while generating good audit trails. These audit trails record access-control decisions (such as uses of downgrading or declassification) that influence how information flows through the system. Aura’s programming model is intended to smoothly integrate information-flow and access control constraints with the cryptographic enforcement mechanisms necessary in a distributed computing environment.

This is joint work with Jeff Vaughan, Limin Jia, Karl Mazurak, Jianzhou Zhou, Joseph Schorr, and Luke Zarko.

This talk is part of the Wednesday Seminars - Department of Computer Science and Technology series.

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