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Secure the Clones Static Enforcement of Policies for Secure Object Copying

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Executive Summary

Exchanging mutable data objects with untrusted code is a delicate matter because of the risk of creating a data space that is accessible by an attacker. Consequently, secure programming guidelines for Java stress the importance of using defensive copying before accepting or handing out references to an internal mutable object. However, implementation of a copy method (like clone()) is entirely left to the programmer. It may not provide a sufficiently deep copy of an object and is subject to overriding by a malicious sub-class. Currently no language-based mechanism supports secure object cloning.

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