A Hierarchical Security Assessment Model for Object-Oriented Programs

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The authors present a hierarchical model for assessing an object-oriented program's security. Security is quantified using structural properties of the program code to identify the ways in which 'Classified' data values may be transferred between objects. The model begins with a set of low-level security metrics based on traditional design characteristics of object-oriented classes, such as data encapsulation, cohesion and coupling. These metrics are then used to characterise higher-level properties concerning the overall readability and writability of classified data throughout the program. In turn, these metrics are then mapped to well-known security design principles such as 'Assigning the least privilege' and 'Reducing the size of the attack surface'.