Code Security in Transformed Java Bytecode

Program code transformation is a useful technique for achieving language extensions like persistence of objects. However, a meta-level program may often introduce security holes unexpectedly through its code transformation, and result in breaking Java’s code security model that base-level application programs assume in order to preserve their application-level security. This paper shows the problem of code security as broken by program transformations and explains the possibility of a security threat caused by it. Based on the security model of program transformations, we formalize a novel action-based security model, which describes a mechanism suitable for safely handling program transformations in Java. Also, this paper describes the design and implementation of our secure program transformation framework. The framework is built upon the standard Java virtual machine using a customized class loader. It checks and transforms bytecode of application classes when they are loaded. Experimental results show its overhead is acceptably small.

By: Michiaki Tatsubori, Akihiko Tozawa, Akira Koseki

Published in: RT0782 in 2008


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