Access - A specific type of interaction between a subject and an object that results in the flow of information from one to the other.
Approval/Accreditation - The official authorization that is granted to an ADP system to process sensitive information in its operational environment, based upon comprehensive security evaluation of the system's hardware, firmware, and software security design, configuration, and implementation and of the other system procedural, administrative, physical, TEMPEST, personnel, and communications security controls.
Audit Trail - A set of records that collectively provide documentary evidence of processing used to aid in tracing from original transactions forward to related records and reports, and/or backwards from records and reports to their component source transactions.
Authenticate - To establish the validity of a claimed identity.
Automatic Data Processing (ADP) System - An assembly of computer hardware, firmware, and software configured for the purpose of classifying, sorting, calculating, computing, summarizing, transmitting and receiving, storing, and retrieving data with a minimum of human intervention.
Bandwidth - A characteristic of a communication channel that is the amount of information that can be passed through it in a given amount of time, usually expressed in bits per second.
Bell-LaPadula Model - A formal state transition model of computer security policy that describes a set of access control rules. In this formal model, the entities in a computer system are divided into abstract sets of subjects and objects. The notion of a secure state is defined and it is proven that each state transition preserves security by moving from secure state to secure state; thus, inductively proving that the system is secure. A system state is defined to be "secure" if the only permitted access modes of subjects to objects are in accordance with a specific security policy. In order to determine whether or not a specific access mode is allowed, the clearance of a subject is compared to the classification of the object and a determination is made as to whether the subject is authorized for the specific access mode. The clearance/classification scheme is expressed in terms of a lattice. See also: Lattice, Simple Security Property, *- Property.
Certification - The technical evaluation of a system's security features, made as part of and in support of the approval/accreditation process, that establishes the extent to which a particular computer system's design and implementation meet a set of specified security requirements.
Channel - An information transfer path within a system. May also refer to the mechanism by which the path is effected.
Covert Channel - A communication channel that allows a process to transfer information in a manner that violates the system's security policy. See also: Covert Storage Channel, Covert Timing Channel.
Covert Storage Channel - A covert channel that involves the direct or indirect writing of a storage location by one process and the direct or indirect reading of the storage location by another process. Covert storage channels typically involve a finite resource (e.g., sectors on a disk) that is shared by two subjects at different security levels.
Covert Timing Channel - A covert channel in which one process signals information to another by modulating its own use of system resources (e.g., CPU time) in such a way that this manipulation affects the real response time observed by the second process.
Data - Information with a specific physical representation.
Data Integrity - The state that exists when computerized data is the same as that in the source documents and has not been exposed to accidental or malicious alteration or destruction.
Descriptive Top-Level Specification (DTLS) - A top-level specification that is written in a natural language (e.g., English), an informal program design notation, or a combination of the two.
Discretionary Access Control - A means of restricting access to objects based on the identity of subjects and/or groups to which they belong. The controls are discretionary in the sense that a subject with a certain access permission is capable of passing that permission (perhaps indirectly) on to any other subject (unless restrained by mandatory access control).
Domain - The set of objects that a subject has the ability to access.
Dominate - Security level S1 is said to dominate security level S2 if the hierarchical classification of S1 is greater than or equal to that of S2 and the non-hierarchical categories of S1 include all those of S2 as a subset.
Exploitable Channel - Any channel that is useable or detectable by subjects external to the Trusted Computing Base.
Flaw Hypothesis Methodology - A system analysis and penetration technique where specifications and documentation for the system are analyzed and then flaws in the system are hypothesized. The list of hypothesized flaws is then prioritized on the basis of the estimated probability that a flaw actually exists and, assuming a flaw does exist, on the ease of exploiting it and on the extent of control or compromise it would provide. The prioritized list is used to direct the actual testing of the system.
Flaw - An error of commission, omission, or oversight in a system that allows protection mechanisms to be bypassed.
Formal Proof - A complete and convincing mathematical argument, presenting the full logical justification for each proof step, for the truth of a theorem or set of theorems. The formal verification process uses formal proofs to show the truth of certain properties of formal specification and for showing that computer programs satisfy their specifications.
Formal Security Policy Model - A mathematically precise statement of a security policy. To be adequately precise, such a model must represent the initial state of a system, the way in which the system progresses from one state to another, and a definition of a "secure" state of the system. To be acceptable as a basis for a TCB, the model must be supported by a formal proof that if the initial state of the system satisfies the definition of a "secure" state and if all assumptions required by the model hold, then all future states of the system will be secure. Some formal modeling techniques include: state transition models, temporal logic models, denotational semantics models, algebraic specification models. An example is the model described by Bell and LaPadula in reference [Bell76] . See also: Bell- LaPadula Model, Security Policy Model.
Formal Top-Level Specification (FTLS) - A Top-Level Specification that is written in a formal mathematical language to allow theorems showing the correspondence of the system specification to its formal requirements to be hypothesized and formally proven.
Formal Verification - The process of using formal proofs to demonstrate the consistency (design verification) between a formal specification of a system and a formal security policy model or (implementation verification) between the formal specification and its program implementation.
Front-End Security Filter - A process that is invoked to process data accordint to a specified security policy prior to releasing the data outside the processing environment or upon receiving data from an external source.
Functional Testing - The portion of security testing in which the advertised features of a system are tested for correct operation.
General-Purpose System - A computer system that is designed to aid in solving a wide variety of problems.
Granularity - The relative fineness or coarseness by which a mechanism can be adjusted. The phrase "the granularity of a single user" means the access control mechanism can be adjusted to include or exclude any single user.
Lattice - A partially ordered set for which every pair of elements has a greatest lower bound and a least upper bound.
Least Privilege - This principle requires that each subject in a system be granted the most restrictive set of privileges (or lowest clearance) needed for the performance of authorized tasks. The application of this principle limits the damage that can result from accident, error, or unauthorized use.
Mandatory Access Control - A means of restricting access to objects based on the sensitivity (as represented by a label) of the information contained in the objects and the formal authorization (i.e., clearance) of subjects to access information of such sensitivity.
Multilevel Device - A device that is used in a manner that permits it to simultaneously process data of two or more security levels without risk of compromise. To accomplish this, sensitivity labels are normally stored on the same physical medium and in the same form (i.e., machine-readable or human-readable) as the data being processed.
Multilevel Secure - A class of system containing information with different sensitivities that simultaneously permits access by users with different security clearances and needs-to- know, but prevents users from obtaining access to information for which they lack authorization.
Object - A passive entity that contains or receives information. Access to an object potentially implies access to the information it contains. Examples of objects are: records, blocks, pages, segments, files, directories, directory trees, and programs, as well as bits, bytes, words, fields, processors, video displays, keyboards, clocks, printers, network nodes, etc.
Object Reuse - The reassignment to some subject of a medium (e.g., page frame, disk sector, magnetic tape) that contained one or more objects. To be securely reassigned, such media must contain no residual data from the previously contained object(s).
Output - Information that has been exported by a TCB.
Password - A private character string that is used to authenticate an identity.
Penetration Testing - The portion of security testing in which the penetrators attempt to circumvent the security features of a system. The penetrators may be assumed to use all system design and implementation documentation, which may include listings of system source code, manuals, and circuit diagrams. The penetrators work under no constraints other than those that would be applied to ordinary users.
Process - A program in execution. It is completely characterized by a single current execution point (represented by the machine state) and address space.
Protection-Critical Portions of the TCB - Those portions of the TCB whose normal function is to deal with the control of access between subjects and objects.
Protection Philosophy - An informal description of the overall design of a system that delineates each of the protection mechanisms employed. A combination (appropriate to the evaluation class) of formal and informal techniques is used to show that the mechanisms are adequate to enforce the security policy.
Read - A fundamental operation that results only in the flow of information from an object to a subject.
Read Access - Permission to read information.
Read-Only Memory (ROM) - A storage area in which the contents can be read but not altered during normal computer processing.
Reference Monitor Concept - An access control concept that refers to an abstract machine that mediates all accesses to objects by subjects.
Resource - Anything used or consumed while performing a function. The categories of resources are: time, information, objects (information containers), or processors (the ability to use information). Specific examples are: CPU time; terminal connect time; amount of directly-addressable memory; disk space; number of I/O requests per minute, etc.
Security Kernel - The hardware, firmware, and software elements of a Trusted Computing Base that implement the reference monitor concept. It must mediate all accesses, be protected from modification, and be verifiable as correct.
Security Level - The combination of a hierarchical classification and a set of non-hierarchical categories that represents the sensitivity of information.
Security Policy - The set of laws, rules, and practices that regulate how an organization manages, protects, and distributes sensitive information.
Security Policy Model - An informal presentation of a formal security policy model.
Security Relevant Event - Any event that attempts to change the security state of the system, (e.g., change discretionary access controls, change the security level of the subject, change user password, etc.). Also, any event that attempts to violate the security policy of the system, (e.g., too many attempts to login, attempts to violate the mandatory access control limits of a defice, attempts to downgrade a file, etc.).
Security Testing - A process used to determine that the security features of a system are implemented as designed and that they are adequate for a proposed application environment. This process includes hands-on functional testing, penetration testing, and verification. See also: Functional Testing, Penetration Testing, Verification.
Sensitive Information - Information that, as determined by a competent authority, must be protected because its unauthorized disclosure, alteration, loss, or destruction will at least cause perceivable damage to someone or something.
Sensitivity Label - A piece of information that represents the security level of an object and that describes the sensitivity (e.g., classification) of the data in the object. Sensitivity labels are used by the TCB as the basis for mandatory access control decisions.
Simple Security Condition - A Bell-LaPadula security model rule allowing a subject read access to an object only if the security level of the subject dominates the security level of the object.
Single-Level Device - A device that is used to process data of a single security level at any one time. Since the device need not be trusted to separate data of different security levels, sensitivity labels do not have to be stored with the data being processed.
*-Property (Star Property) - A Bell-LaPadula security model rule allowing a subject write access to an object only if the security level of the subject is dominated by the security level of the object. Also known as the Confinement Property.
Storage Object - An object that supports both read and write accesses.
Subject - An active entity, generally in the form of a person, process, or device that causes information to flow among objects or changes the system state. Technically, a process/domain pair.
Subject Security Level - A subject's security level is equal to the security level of the objects to which it has both read and write access. A subject's security level must always be dominated by the clearance of the user the subject is associated with.
TEMPEST - The study and control of spurious electronic signals emitted from ADP equipment.
Top-Level Specification (TLS) - A non-procedural description of system behavior at the most abstract level. Typically a functional specification that omits all implementation details.
Trap Door - A hidden software or hardware mechanism that permits system protection mechanisms to be circumvented. It is activated in some non-apparent manner (e.g., special "random" key sequence at a terminal).
Trojan Horse - A computer program with an apparently or actually useful function that contains additional (hidden) functions that surreptitiously exploit the legitimate authorizations of the invoking process to the detriment of security. For example, making a "blind copy" of a sensitive file for the creator of the Trojan Horse.
Trusted Computer System - A system that employs sufficient hardware and software integrity measures to allow its use for processing simultaneously a range of sensitive or classified information.
Trusted Computing Base (TCB) - The totality of protection mechanisms within a computer system -- including hardware, firmware, and software -- the combination of which is responsible for enforcing a security policy. A TCB consists of one or more components that together enforce a unified security policy over a product or system. The ability of a trusted computing base to correctly enforce a security policy depends solely on the mechanisms within the TCB and on the correct input by system administrative personnel of parameters (e.g., a user's clearance) related to the security policy.
Trusted Path - A mechanism by which a person at a terminal can communicate directly with the Trusted Computing Base. This mechanism can only be activated by the person or the Trusted Computing Base and cannot be imitated by untrusted software.
Trusted Software - The software portion of a Trusted Computing Base.
User - Any person who interacts directly with a computer system.
Verification - The process of comparing two levels of system specification for proper correspondence (e.g., security policy model with top-level specification, TLS with source code, or source code with object code). This process may or may not be automated.
Write - A fundamental operation that results only in the flow of information from a subject to an object.
Write Access - Permission to write an object.