Table of Contents
1 INTRODUCTION 2 FAILURES, DISCONTINUITIES, AND RECOVERY
2.2 TCB FAILURES
2.3 MEDIA FAILURES
2.4 DlSCONTINUITY OF OPERATION
4.1 RESPONSIBILITY FOR
4.2 SOME PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES WITH CURRENT FORMALISMS
4.3 SUMMARY OF CURRENT APPROACHES TO RECOVERY
of System Recovery
4.3.2 Current Approaches
4.3.3 Implementation of Atomic State Transitions 4.3.4 Recovery with Non-Atomic State Transitions
5.1 OPERATIONAL ASSURANCE
5.2 LIFE-CYCLE ASSURANCE
5.2.1 Security Testing
5.2.2 Design Specification and Verification
5.2.3 Configuration Management
5.2.4 Trusted Distribution
6.1 REQUIREMENTS FOR
SECURITY CLASS B3
126.96.36.199 Design Specification and Verification
188.8.131.52 Configuration Management
Library No. S-236,061 Version 1
The Trusted Recovery Guide is the latest in a series of technical guidelines published by the National Computer Security Center. These publications provide insight to the Trusted Computer Systems Evaluation Criteria requirements for the computer security vendor and technical evaluator. The goal of the Technical Guideline Program is to discuss each feature of the Criteria in detail and to provide the proper interpretations with specific guidance.
The National Computer Security Center has established an aggressive program to study and implement computer security technology. Our goal is to encourage the widespread availability of trusted computer products for use by any organization desiring better protection of its important data. One way we do this is by the Trusted Product Evaluation Program. This program focuses on the security features of commercially produced and supported computer systems. We evaluate the protection capabilities against the established criteria presented in the Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria. This program, and an open and cooperative business relationship with the computer and telecommunications industries, will result in the fulfillment of our country's information systems security requirements. We resolve to meet the challenge of identifying trusted computer products suitable for use in processing information that needs protection.
I invite your suggestions for revising this technical guideline. We will review this document as the need arises.
- 30 December 1991
- Patrick R. Gallagher, Jr.
- National Computer Security Center
We wish to thank the many members of the computer security community who enthusiastically gave their time and technical expertise in reviewing this guideline and providing valuable comments and suggestions.
The TCSEC was originally published on 15 August 1983 as CSC-STD-001-83. In December 1985 the Department of Defense adopted it, with a few changes, as a Department of Defense Standard, DoD 5200.28-STD. DoD Directive 5200.28, Security Requirements for Automatic Information Systems (AISs) , requires the Department of Defense to use the TCSEC. The TCSEC is the standard used for evaluating the effectiveness of security controls built into DoD AISs.
The TCSEC is divided into four divisions: D, C, B, and A. These divisions are ordered in a hierarchical manner. The TCSEC reserves the highest division (A) for systems providing the best available level of assurance. Within divisions C and B are subdivisions known as classes, which also are ordered in a hierarchical manner to represent different levels of security in these divisions.
Besides these mechanisms, the TCSEC's B3-A1 classes require the implementor to follow specific design principles and practices, collectively called assurance measures. The TCSEC further requires the developer to provide specific documentation evidence sufficient for an evaluator or accreditor to verify that the mechanisms and assurances are sufficient to meet specified requirements.
This guide presents the issues involved in the design of trusted recovery. It provides guidance to manufacturers on what functions of trusted recovery to incorporate into their systems. It also provides guidance to system evaluators and accreditors on how to evaluate the design and implementation of trusted recovery functions. This document contains suggestions and recommendations derived from TCSEC objectives but which the TCSEC does not require. Examples in this document are not the only way of accomplishing trusted recovery. Nor are the recommendations supplementary requirements to the TCSEC. The only measure of TCSEC compliance is the TCSEC itself.
This guideline isn't a tutorial introduction to the topic of recovery. Instead, it's a summary of trusted recovery issues that should be addressed by operating systems designed to satisfy the requirements of the B3 and A1 classes. We assume the reader of this document is an operating system designer or evaluator who is already familiar with the notion of recovery in operating systems. The guide explains the security properties of system recovery (and the notion of trusted recovery). It also defines a set of baseline requirements and recommendations for the design and evaluation of trusted recovery mechanisms and assurance. The reader who is unfamiliar with the notion of system recovery and security modeling required of B3 and Al systems may find it useful to refer both to the recovery literature (such as [1, 5, 14-16, 20-23, 25, 27]) and the security literature (such as [3,11, 26, 29]) cited in this guide.
Not addressed are recovery measures designed to tolerate failures caused by physical attacks on ADP equipment, natural disasters, water or fire damage, nor administrative measures that deal with such events. The evaluation of these measures is beyond the scope of the TCSEC [17, p. 89].
- "Procedures and/or mechanisms shall be provided to assure
that, after an ADP system failure or other discontinuity, recovery
without a protection compromise is obtained." [17, p. 39]
Recovery mechanisms of computer systems are designed to respond to anticipated failures or discontinuities of operation. These mechanisms do not handle "unanticipated" failures nor "unanticipated" discontinuities of operation; therefore, computer-system documentation should include descriptions of administrative procedures to handle such events. In a well-designed system, unanticipated failures and discontinuities of operation are events expected to occur with very low frequency, i.e., once or twice per year. For this reason, administrative procedures, as opposed to automated mechanisms in the system, represent an adequate response to unanticipated failures and discontinuities of operation, even when these procedures are complex and extensive.
One can't establish formal models of failure and discontinuity of operation in which proofs demonstrate the model's internal consistency. Neither physical systems, such as devices, processing units, and storage, nor behaviors of users, administrators, and operators, have formal properties . Therefore, formal modeling and specification of expected failures and discontinuities of operation can't be required. Only informal assumptions derived from operational experience can be made about expected failures, discontinuities, their effects, and their frequencies. References [14, 15, 21] present examples of such assumptions. These informal assumptions, which should be stated explicitly in system documentation, form the basis for the design of the recovery mechanisms and the definition of the administrative recovery procedures.
However, recovery mechanisms and administrative procedures must reconstruct consistent system states, or prevent state transitions to inconsistent states, as a direct response to occurrences of expected failures or discontinuities of operation [8, 9]. A system state is "consistent" if the variables defining it satisfy given predicates expressing formally or informally invariant properties of the system, discussed in Section 3.1. A "state transition" is a function which changes the variables of a system state in a specified way, i.e., specified as constraints on the system's rules of operation -discussed in Section 3.2. Therefore, the design of recovery mechanisms and administrative procedures should use invariant properties and state-transition constraints of the security model defined for the system, viz., discussion in Chapter 3.
The role of recovery mechanisms and of trusted recovery can be best understood by illustrating the effect of failures and discontinuities of operation on typical systems. Informal and qualitative assumptions of failures derived from operational experience with various systems have been presented in the literature [14,15, 21]. Using these informal assumptions we can define general classes of failures that affect the operation of a TCB.
One class of failures is identical to the class of errors caused when users pass wrong parameters to TCB primitives, or invoke the wrong TCB primitives, and when system resources are exhausted or found in an inconsistent state because of user actions. These are called state-transition failures or action failures. We cover this type of user-induced failure, which falls more naturally in the area of exception processing, for two reasons: (1) the failures of this class are, nevertheless, TCB domain failures regardless of their cause; and (2) the processing of these failures---not just their specification and documentation---is relevant to system security.
For example, incorrect error processing can bring the system into a state where a user cannot communicate with the TCB, or can contribute to the mishandling of covert channels. However, we place the major emphasis in this guideline on the more traditional notions of failure, namely TCB failures, media failures, and administrator-induced discontinuity of operation.
The effects of state-transition failures on TCB states are not as far-reaching as those of other failures. Because these failures occur often, the code of TCB primitives usually includes recovery mechanisms that undo the temporary modifications of system states before the primitive's return, thus returning the system to a consistent state. If the recovery mechanisms of TCB primitives fail to undo temporary modifications of system states, the system may remain in an inconsistent state and eventually crash. A crash is a failure that causes the processors' registers to be reset to some standard values . Because consistent system states cannot be recovered from processor and primary memory registers after a crash, these registers are referred to as "volatile" storage. In contrast, consistent system states can usually be recovered from magnetic media such as disks and tapes; these media are called "nonvolatile" storage.
Examples of recovery mechanisms included in TCB primitives to undo temporary state modifications after state-transition failures are found in most contemporary operating systems. For instance, consider the "creat" primitive of a hypothetical UNlX system which allocates i-node table entries before allocating file table entries [l]. If the file table entry is full at the time "creat" call is made, a state-transition failure would occur. Before returning to the caller, the recovery code of "creat" deallocates the i-node table entry allocated for the file that couldn't be created. Failure to deallocate such entries would cause the i-node table to fill up and remain full, causing a system crash.
In systems providing a high degree of hardware fault tolerance, system crashes still occur because of software errors. Since crashes cause volatile storage to be lost, and since nonvolatile media usually survive crashes, recovery mechanisms can reconstruct consistent states in a maintenance mode of operation. After reconstructing a consistent state, the recovery mechanisms restart the system with no process execution in progress, e.g., processes that were active, blocked, or swapped out before the crash are aborted. New processes, which run the code of aborted processes executing at the time of the crash, can be started by users after the consistent state is reconstructed. Recovery mechanisms can reconstruct consistent states by either removing or completing incomplete updates of various objects represented on nonvolatile media. Properties of and design approaches for recovery mechanisms able to reconstruct consistent states from nonvolatile storage after TCB failures are discussed in Section 3.2 and Chapter 4.
Some TCB failures allow a system to shut down in an orderly manner. These failures may be caused by process swap-space exhaustion, timer-interrupt table exhaustion, and, in general, by conditions that can't be handled by TCB primitives themselves in normal modes of operation. Traps originated by persistent hardware failures, such as memory and bus parity errors, also may cause failures.
The effect of media failures is that part, or all, of the media representing TCB objects become inaccessible and corrupt. Data structures relevant to system security also may be corrupted by media failures, e.g., object security labels. The system usually crashes unless the lost data can be retrieved from archival storage and rebuilt on a redundant storage device. Of course, media failures that don't affect TCB objects may not cause system crashes. If redundant media aren't available, or if users and administrators don't keep archival data up-to-date, media failures may become unrecoverable failures. Administrative recovery procedures may have to be used to bring the system to a consistent state. As discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, all these procedures should be explained in the system's Trusted Facility Manual.
The effects of discontinuities of operation are the same as those of the state-transition and TCB failures mentioned above. Recovery mechanisms or administrative procedures necessary for the reconstruction of a consistent state also are correspondingly similar to those used for failures. For example, cancellation of a TCB primitive call by depressing the "break" key during the call's execution might have the same effect as a state-transition failure detected by the TCB primitive. Each TCB primitive and state transition would have to be designed either to ignore user cancellation signals during execution of critical code sections or to clean up internal data structures during the processing of such signals.
Actions such as system shutdowns by power-off action during execution of TCB code may cause TCB failures. Recovery mechanisms for TCB failures caused by power failures also may be able to handle unexpected system shutdowns. In either case, during subsequent power-on procedures, the TCB not only detects that TCB failures left the system in an inconsistent state, but also initiates recovery of a consistent state before the system enters the normal mode of operation.
Somewhat less often, administrator or operator actions cause media failures. For example, initiation of on-line diagnostic tests of a media controller during normal mode of system operation, instead of the maintenance mode, would most likely cause media failures. Similarly, initiation of TCB maintenance actions such as disk reformatting in the normal mode of operation would certainly cause subsequent media failures. Discontinuity of operation caused by administrator- or operator-induced failures may require use of administrative recovery procedures.
Accountability models include models of user authentication, trusted path, and audit. The notions of invariants for secure states and constraints for specific state transitions are briefly illustrated in this chapter and discussed in detail in reference . Reference  discusses the notion of a valid interpretation of a security model in detail and reference  illustrates it. For the sake of brevity, interpretations of security models aren't illustrated in this guideline.
- a. subjects (trusted and untrusted)
- b. objects
- c. access privileges
- d. access matrix (defining the privileges of subjects to objects)
- e. current access set (defining the privileges subjects can
currently exercise over objects)
- f. security function (defining the subject's maximum and current
subject clearance and the object classification)
- g. object hierarchy
(1) Security in variants are derived formally from security model interpretations.
State-machine models also include conditions, or axioms, whose interpretations in a given system provide invariant properties which must be satisfied by secure states. For example, the conditions of the Bell-La Padula model include the following:
- a. the simple-security condition for subjects
- b. the *-property for the security function
- c. the discretionary security condition for access privileges
of current access sets
- d. the compatibility condition for object hierarchies
(2) Informally derived in variants should augment formally derived invariants whenever necessary.
State-transition models might not include all the conditions that are relevant to the notion of security or accountability. Whenever this is true, new invariants need to be defined to augment the set of existing invariants derived from interpretation of model conditions (or axioms). For example, additional invariants may be defined for objects such as the password file, user-account file, security map file, and system configuration file, which are used by trusted processes of a system supporting the Bell-La Padula model. These invariants may refer to multiple types of objects, as illustrated in this example:
- In all system states, all user and group identifiers must be
unique, integer values; the identifiers' length may vary from
zero to a defined maximum number of characters.
- In all system states, the entries of an ACL must be sorted
- <user id.group id > entries precede <user id.* > entries
- <user id.* > entries precede < *.group id > entries
- < *.group id > entries precede < *.* > entries
- where "*" represents the wild-card qualifier.
Recovery mechanisms of a TCB become trusted only if they maintain secure states in the normal mode of operation, or detect insecure states and reconstruct secure states in the maintenance mode of operation, despite the occurrence of failures and discontinuities. To detect insecure states after system failures or to verify that recovered states are secure, recovery mechanisms must check whether security invariants are satisfied. All security invariants are relevant to the recovery mechanisms handling state-transition failures. These failures usually leave the system in the normal mode of operation, instead of causing the system to enter maintenance mode. Therefore, all invariants which must hold in the normal mode of operation also must hold after recovery from state-transition failures.
(3) Some security invariants may be irrelevant for trusted recovery.
Not all security invariants are relevant for other classes of failures. For example, consider the case of TCB failures when all volatile memory is lost and the system enters maintenance mode. In maintenance mode, consistent states are recovered, security invariants are checked, and the system is placed back in normal mode of operation in a secure state that usually includes an empty set of user processes (i.e., untrusted subjects) and a corresponding empty current access set.
In most system-recovery designs, recovery mechanisms restart only a few of the trusted processes (e.g., the "login" process listening to terminals). User processes in execution at the time of TCB failure are aborted because their state is lost either along with the loss of volatile memory or during the recovery of secure states. Users can start new processes executing the code of these aborted processes after the system is placed in normal mode of operation. Therefore, after TCB failures, recovery mechanisms need not check invariant properties referring to the current access set.
For example, from the set of the invariants derived from the conditions of the Bell-La Padula model, only those corresponding to the simple-security condition and from the compatibility condition remain relevant for trusted processes and for the object hierarchy, respectively, after system crashes. However, if the current state of at least some user processes can be recovered after a TCB failure, other invariants derived from the conditions of the Bell-La Padula model (e.g., the *-property), also become relevant. Thus, the types of relevant invariants depend on the type of desired and possible system-state recovery (e.g., a state with no active processes), no opened files or devices, or a state with at least some active processes, opened files and devices. The type of system-state recovery is determined by either the designers choice or by other, non-TCSEC requirements. However, a complete set of security invariants should be derived from interpretations of security models for any type of system-state recovery.
(4) All TCB integrity invariants should be satisfied by trusted recovery.
To detect insecure states, or to verify that recovered states are secure, recovery mechanisms also must verify whether integrity invariants of the TCB are satisfied. Internal TCB integrity invariants do not necessarily refer only to state variables defined by user-level security or integrity models. They also may refer to internal TCB variables used for object and subject representation, and may not be visible either at the user nor at the administrative interface of the TCB. For example, internal TCB-integrity invariants may require the satisfaction of the conditions below.
For all recovered states:
a. A disk sector is either free or allocated.
b. The sum of free and allocated disk sectors equals the total number of disk sectors.
c. Every allocated disk sector occurs exactly once in exactly one object representation,
and all free disk sectors do not belong to any object.
d. All active objects are reachable from the root of their hierarchy.
e. If an object's link count or reference count is zero, neither a link nor a reference exists
to that object.
Most operating systems provide recovery mechanisms which attempt to detect internal inconsistencies after crashes and to recover consistent states. [1, §5.18] provides examples of internal operating system invariants for the UNIX file system which are enforced by the file system checking program "fsck."
(5) Lack of security invariants makes trusted recovery impossible.
The key role of secure-state determination in trusted recovery underlines the importance of security invariants. Lack of such invariants makes it impossible to determine whether TCB primitives can tolerate state-transition failures, i.e., whether TCB primitives clean up temporary state modifications before they return to their caller. Similarly, lack of security invariants make it impossible for the recovery mechanisms and procedures to determine whether the recovered state is secure even if all state transitions are designed to satisfy all model's constraints in the face of "expected" failures and discontinuities of operations, discussed in Section 3.2. "Unexpected" TCB failures, media failures, or discontinuities may still leave the system in insecure states. Whether such states are secure or insecure can only be determined by verifying the state invariants.
- For any TCB primitive which changes the security level of an
object, the new level must dominate the original security level
of the object.
(1) Trusted recovery requires the satisfaction of all constraints.
TCB primitives implement secure state transitions. The primitives may temporarily place the system in insecure states before they return to their caller. Any failure or discontinuity of operation during a state transition may leave the system in an insecure state. Furthermore, even if the recovered system state appears secure, it's possible that the constraints placed on the secure state transition (during which the TCB failed) are violated as a result of the failure.
For example, consider a state transition which changes the security level of an object and satisfies the constraint defined above in absence of failures. Because a security level may be a multi-field, multi-word data structure, any update to it requires the execution of several instructions including at least one I/0 instruction. A failure may occur in the middle of the security level update; e.g., a power failure during the disk-write operation may leave the security level only partially updated. This may violate the constraint defined above but may not affect any state invariant. The update may have changed the clearance field and some, but not all, of the category fields of the security level before the failure. As a consequence, the resulting object security level would no longer dominate the original object security level, violating the above constraint. However, it's possible the resulting object security level satisfies all state invariants, such as those derived from the interpretation of the simple- security and compatibility conditions of the Bell-La Padula model. Recovery mechanisms would have no way to detect whether the recovered state, which would include the update, is insecure.
Similar, and more probable, problems may appear when the TCB crashes in the middle of writing a label of a newly created file, in the middle of a security map update by a system-administrator process, or in the middle of an update to a file containing an access control list or any other security-relevant data structure. The notion of atomicity, discussed in the paragraph below labeled (2), would prevent this type of recovery problem from violating system-security policy.
Recovery mechanisms can detect that the system is in an insecure state following a TCB or media failure, after extensive, time-consuming checks of security in- variants, without relying on special designs of TCB code implementing secure state transitions. However, seldom are the recovery mechanisms able to recover an old secure state, or construct the new secure state from nonvolatile media, without relying on special design and implementation of TCB code that anticipates various types of failures.
Because constraints relate variables of old states with those of the new states created by secure state transitions, failures may make it impossible to verify constraints. In other words, the values of the old states may no longer be available, whereas the values of the new states may not be fully updated at the time of the failure. Thus, it's important to design the TCB code implementing state transitions so assurances provide the recovery of either the secure input state or the secure output state of a transition. In the latter case, the recovery mechanism should be guaranteed to satisfy the transition's security constraints---not just the secure-state invariants.
(2) Atomicity of all TCB primitives ensures trusted recovery.
Atomicity is the key property of the TCB code implementing secure state transitions, enabling the recovery mechanisms to reconstruct secure states despite the occurrence of (anticipated) failures. Assuming that all state transitions can be serialized by concurrency control mechanisms , a state transition is "atomic" in the face of failures if it's either carried out completely or has no effect at all. In practice, this property implies that the TCB code implementing state transitions is designed to ensure that, for the class of anticipated failures, the recovery mechanisms are always able to reconstruct either input secure states or output secure states after failures.
The literature describes various approaches for providing atomicity at the operating system level [16, 21, 23, 25, 27], and at the data base management system level [14,15]. We summarize these approaches in Chapter 4.
(3) Atomicity of all TCB primitives is not always necessary for trusted recovery.
In many operating systems or TCB primitives, it may be difficult to ensure that all secure-state transitions are atomic. Some operating system primitives consist of many individual object updates, and atomicity requires the implementation of these primitives as "transactions" (defined in Section 4.2.2 and in references [14,15,16, 21,23,25,27]). The performance penalties and complexity of implementing transactional behavior in all TCB primitives might be prohibitive for many small operating systems.
In many small operating systems, a more practical approach is taken to the design of TCB primitives and object representations to aid recovery mechanisms in the detection of inconsistencies. It's acceptable to implement TCB-primitive mechanisms which only help detect inconsistent (insecure) states after crashes, but do not ensure atomicity of secure-state transitions. These implementations leave the task of reconstructing consistent or secure states to administrative users and tools. The choice of which TCB primitives should be made atomic (if any) or which TCB primitives should only help detect insecure states after crashes (but not be atomic) belongs to the system designers.
An example of a file system design allowing the detection of inconsistent states by a "scavenging" process is provided in . The scavenging process recovers files whose representation is intact, and deletes files whose representations become inconsistent after crashes. To a large extent, the UNIX system calls are designed to ensure that the "fsck" program can detect a variety of file system inconsistencies after crashes, with only some facilities for consistent state recovery without administrative intervention, viz., [1, Chs. 5.16-5.18] and . Section 4.2 presents examples of design considerations for TCB primitives which help the recovery mechanisms detect and correct inconsistencies.
In contrast, emergency system restarts and cold starts are performed primarily by system administrators using TCB-supported tools. Among the system administrators, the System Programmer role is responsible for trusted recovery functions (e.g., consistency checks on system objects, on individual TCB files and databases, repair of damaged security labels, and so on ). The Security Administrator also may perform recovery responsibilities whenever the System Programmer's role is not separately identified by the system's design.
The System Programmer role may have additional tools necessary for checking the integrity of TCB structures and the security invariants of the initial state, i.e., for establishing the initial secure-system state. The determination of this state is similar to the determination of whether a recovered state is secure. However, the initial system state may not necessarily be identical to a recovered state because, unlike a recovered state, the initial state may not contain any user-visible objects. Thus, fewer invariants may be relevant for determining the security of the initial states.
Tools such as the ones suggested in reference , for identifying vulnerabilities of certain system states, also may be useful both for establishing secure initial states and recovered states. Because some of the tools used for detecting insecure states and for repairing various system data structures place the TCB in maintenance mode (e.g., fsck tools [1, 5]), the use of these tools should be restricted to the System Programmer role.
First, when current state-transition models are interpreted, the state invariants and transition constraints for trusted processes acting on behalf of system administrators are inadequate in number. Second, extant models do not include accountability properties of secure systems, thus making the formal derivation of accountability invariants and constraints impossible. The apparent reason for these inadequacies of extant state-machine models is that they are too abstract to include system- specific invariants and constraints for the areas mentioned above.
Invariants and constraints that need to be defined for trusted processes and for administrative programs in the accountability area are significantly more numerous and complex than those derived from extant state-machine models for other TCB areas. An attempt to define state invariants in the trusted process area ---for formal security-verification purposes, not for trusted recovery---is reported in . Appendix E of reference  defines a fairly extensive list of invariant conditions for state variables in the accountability area for the specific purpose of verifying the security of initial and recovered system states.
Lack of formal invariants and constraints for state variables and state transitions of trusted processes and accountability programs makes it difficult to determine formally whether TCB primitives can tolerate even state-transition failures, e.g., determine formally whether inconsistent states are cleaned-up properly before primitives return to callers. To determine formally whether recovery mechanisms can reconstruct current states, or complete state transitions in maintenance mode after expected TCB or media failures, is a challenging task for anyone. However, informal derivation of system-specific invariants and constraints is acceptable for design of trusted-recovery mechanisms so long as evidence is provided of their correct and extensive use in design of these mechanisms. Such use represents significant added assurance these mechanisms are designed correctly.
System reboot is performed after shutting down the system in a controlled manner in response to a TCB failure. For example, when the TCB detects the exhaustion of space in some of its critical tables, or finds inconsistent object data structures, it closes all objects, aborts all active user processes, and restarts with no user process in execution. Before restart, however, the recovery mechanisms make a best effort to correct the source of inconsistency. Occasionally, the mere termination of all processes frees up some important resources, allowing restart with enough resources available. Note that system rebooting is useful when the recovery mechanisms can determine that TCB and user data structures affecting system security and integrity are, in fact, in a consistent state.
Emergency system restart is done after a system fails in an uncontrolled manner in response to a TCB or media failure. In such cases, TCB and user objects on nonvolatile storage belonging to processes active at the time of TCB or media failure may be left in an inconsistent state. The system enters maintenance mode, recovery is performed automatically, and the system restarts with no user processes in progress after bringing up the system in a consistent state.
System cold start takes place when unexpected TCB or media failures take place and the recovery procedures cannot bring the system to a consistent state. TCB and user objects may remain in an inconsistent state following attempts to recover automatically. Intervention of administrative personnel is now required to bring the system to a consistent state from maintenance mode.
An alternative approach to recovery, used mostly at the operating system level, relies on detection of inconsistencies caused by failures during non-atomic state transitions and subsequent correction of those inconsistencies. This approach, generally called the "optimistic" approach to recovery (and to the serializability of actions), assumes that TCB failures are rare, and therefore the overhead penalties of its extensive recovery mechanisms don't affect the overall performance significantly. In general, the optimistic approach to recovery has better overall performance than approaches which make all state transitions atomic, but recovery is significantly more difficult to design. Section 4.3.4 provides examples of operating system mechanisms that help detect TCB inconsistencies after failures.
Three basic techniques are used to implement atomic actions and transactions:
(1) update shadowing, (2) update logging, and (3) combinations of update shadowing and logging. A major difference between shadowing and logging is that systems using shadowing accomplish all updates to redundant disk pages or files until all updates of an atomic transaction are finished, and then introduce these updates into the original system data; whereas systems using only logging write each update on a log first and then update the original system data directly, i.e., the updates are done in place.
The advantages and disadvantages of both alternatives, the storage and I/O requirements for nonvolatile memory, and the notions of two-phase commits in transaction implementations are discussed in [14,15].
Second, the updates of the intentions set replace the original data in the system, making the updates visible to other system actions or transactions.
If a crash occurs after the commit record is written, but before all intentions replace the original data on nonvolatile storage, the second phase is restarted by the recovery mechanisms as often as necessary (because there may be subsequent crashes during recovery), without leaving any undesirable side effects. Thus, the recovery mechanisms can complete a state transition interrupted by the crash by carrying out all update intentions. Then the set of intentions is erased.
The recovery mechanisms are able to construct the new secure (output) state which would have been produced by the state transition had failure not interrupted it. If a crash occurs before writing the commit record, the recovery mechanisms can only find, or reconstruct, an incomplete set of intentions on nonvolatile storage and erase them. Thus, the recovery mechanisms retain the original secure (input) state prevailing before the crash interrupted the state transition.
To ensure that the above scheme works correctly for an expected set of TCB and media failures, the nonvolatile media must be designed in such a way that (1) the recovery mechanisms can find or reconstruct complete sets of intentions after a crash or determine the intentions list is incomplete (e.g., no commit record is found for it); and (2) the action which writes the commit record, and therefore completes the set of intentions, is itself atomic.
To ensure property (1) above, redundant storage is used to represent sets of intentions, e.g., a pair of related disk pages are written sequentially with the same intention data. The placement of each page of a pair on nonvolatile media, which defines the pair's relationship, is chosen so at least one of the two pages survives all "expected" failures. For example, if the redundant storage containing intentions lists is expected to survive disk-head crashes, the disk should be duplexed and page "a" on the first disk also is written as page "a" on the second disk. However, if the redundant storage is only expected to survive disk-read failures, page "a" also is written as page "f(a)" on the same disk, where the function "f" defines the relationship between the addresses of the two pages. The only inconsistency-detection and reconstruction tasks to be performed relate to the recovery of complete intentions sets after each crash. Note that the inconsistency-detection and reconstruction tasks are placed at a low level within the TCB and, therefore, need not concern themselves with the maintenance of type properties of various objects the TCB may have updated at the time of the crash.
To ensure (2) above, the last disk-write operation to the intentions set, which commits the transaction, should be implemented with a single hardware-provided I/0 instruction that's either atomic or detectably non-atomic with respect to the set of expected failures. Most commercially available I/0 hardware satisfies this requirement.
This scheme, called shadowing, was conceived by Lampson and Sturgis in 1976, was reported in detail in , and was implemented in several distributed storage systems at Xerox PARC [20,23,25,27].
If the system crashes before the commit point, the entire TCB primitive, i.e., transaction, is aborted. Because the log is written before any individual update is made in place, all updates can be undone during recovery merely by reading the log records of the primitive and restoring the original values saved in the log entries. Complex consistency checks are unnecessary. Thus, the recovery mechanisms can retain the original (input) state prevailing before the state transition was interrupted by the crash. This protocol is called "the write-ahead log" protocol in [14,15] and implemented in . However, if the system crashes after writing the commit record onto the log, then all updates of that TCB primitive can be redone from the log records. Thus, the only reconstruction activity remaining is that of restoring object contents from the log records.
Logging mechanisms similar to the one just outlined have been used in database management systems for a long time. Complete description of similar logging mechanisms, which in practice also may include state check pointing and transaction save pointing features, are found in [14, 15], and in systems reference manuals of many commercially available database management systems .
In general, operating systems and TCBs maintain relatively small databases for implementing security policies. Many of the extant operating systems, such as UNIX, already use simple versions of file shadowing to do some atomic actions and transactions. Few operating systems implement logging at the TCB level for recovery reasons. Logging is used mostly at the application level, outside the TCB.
Both informal  and formal  proofs of correctness for recovery mechanisms using shadowing, or shadowing and logging, are in the literature. All these proofs make only informal assumptions of failure behavior.
Subtle system-specific properties are encountered in designs of TCB primitives that don't support atomic state transitions but nevertheless help ensure that the recovery mechanisms can reconstruct a consistent system state. In this section, we present an example of a generic source of inconsistency caused by TCB crashes and illustrate specific properties of non-atomic TCB primitives enabling recovery of consistent, secure states. Of course, these properties aren't necessarily sufficient for trusted recovery. Although other similar properties may be found for trusted recovery, demonstrating their sufficiency for trusted recovery with non-atomic TCB primitives remains a challenge of individual system design.
Any TCB primitive which deletes such an object has to invalidate and/or deallocate at least two of the three related data structures, viz., the object representation and the object map. In most systems, the outstanding user-level references to the deallocated object, e.g., user-directory entries for the deallocated object, also have to be invalidated or deleted. Capability-based systems are an exception to this because capabilities are user-level object references which can't be reused owing to their use of system-wide unique identifiers .
The invalidation or deletion of the three types of related structures (user-level references ~ object map ~ object representation) during a TCB-primitive invocation should be performed in a single atomic action or transaction. Similarly, any TCB-primitive invocation which creates an object and a reference to it would have to allocate all three related structures in a single atomic action or transaction. Should the TCB primitives allocate/deallocate the three related structures independently using non-atomic actions, crashes between the allocation/deallocation of one of the related structures and the rest might leave references pointing to nonexistent objects, causing a "dangling-reference" problem. Alternatively, such crashes might leave references to already allocated objects of other users, causing an "object-reuse" problem.
Example 1---Ordered Disk-Writes within TCB Primitives
TCB primitives which allocate,1deallocate TCB structures, such as the three related structures mentioned previously, could order their write (update) operations to nonvolatile storage in such a way as to prevent both dangling references and object reuse problems after crashes. Consider the following order of updates and requirement for synchronous writes:
- (1) In any TCB primitive which deallocates user-level references,
object map, and object representations within one invocation,
the necessary diskwrite operations should follow the direction
of references; i.e., the objects containing the user-level reference
should be written to the disk first, the objeCt map next, and
the object representation last.
- In any TCB primitive which allocates user-level references,
object map, and object representation within one invocation,
the necessary disk operations should follow the direction opposite
to that of references; i.e., the object representation should
be written to the disk first, the object map next, and the object
containing the user-level reference last.
- (2) All disk-write operations of a TCB primitive which updates
user-level references, object map, and object representation
within one invocation, should be synchronous; i.e., the caller
should not be allowed to proceed until the disk-write operation
A crash occurring after the completion of the first two disk-write operations leaves the user-level reference dangling. This requires the recovery procedures to search the entire directory system to find the dangling reference (if any) before the TCB is rebooted and before the deallocated object map and representation space are reallocated. Should this not happen, or should recovery procedures fail to discover dangling references after crashes, the system might enter an insecure state causing object-reuse problems. A similar problem appears when the crash occurs after the deallocation of the object representation but before the deletion of the object map and the user-level reference.
In contrast, if the disk-write operations required by object deallocation and reference deletion are ordered as suggested in requirement (1) of Example 1, a crash between two consecutive disk-write operations could only cause objects or their maps to become inaccessible. This might cause a denial-of-service problem but not an object-reuse problem.
For example, a crash could occur after the last user-level reference was deleted, and after the corresponding disk-write was completed, but before the disk writes required by the object map and representation deletions could be completed. Both the object representation and map become inaccessible to any user-level programs.
Object inaccessibility also could be caused by crashes occurring after both user-level references and object map are deleted. However, to handle object inaccessibility, recovery procedures need only do "garbage collection" operations. Should these operations (inherently simpler than those finding all dangling references) not be done or should they fail to find all inaccessible objects after a crash, denial-of-service (but not security policy violations) may occur. This example shows that the proper ordering of disk-write operations in all relevant TCB primitives helps reduce the security vulnerability of a system after crashes.
The requirement (2) above for synchronous disk-write operations is necessary to preserve the ordering of disk-writes suggested in requirement (1). Asynchronous disk-write operations don't necessarily preserve such ordering.
Similar disk-write ordering rules apply to multi-leaf trees of references. Such a tree appears in sets of related data structures (user-level references ~ object map ~ object representation) when a reference to a separate ACL object is placed in, or is implicitly associated with, the object map (i.e., object map ~ object representation and object map ~ ACL). In such a case, both the object representation and the ACL should be created before the object map, and the object map should be deleted before both the object representation and the ACL. Failure to order the disk- write operations in the proper sequence may cause the reuse of the ACL with foreign objects after crashes. This would represent a serious access control problem if left uncorrected.
Example 2---Redundancy of TCB Storage Structures
The idea of maintaining redundant storage for critical data structures, enabling recovery mechanisms to reconstruct consistent system states, is neither new nor novel. Similar ideas have led to the use of "double-entry bookkeeping" in accounting systems to accomplish similar goals. Furthermore, it could be argued the design approaches for atomic actions or transactions of TCB primitives ---as discussed in the previous section ---also use redundant storage structures. We suggest here that redundant storage structures can be used solely to aid recovery mechanisms to detect, and possibly correct, inconsistent TCB structures, and not necessarily to provide failure atomicity for all TCB primitives.
Although minimized TCBs, as those required for security classes B3 and A1 are likely to present at their interface only objects with a very simple structure, e.g., segments as opposed to files, the representation of these objects on nonvolatile storage usually requires the maintenance of other more primitive structures. The discovery of inconsistent or even inaccessible objects after a crash, but not necessarily the provision of atomic object updates, can be assured by maintenance of redundant, low-level TCB structures.
For example, consider a system in which a segment representation on the disk consists of a set of not necessarily contiguous pages (i.e., disk sectors) identified by an index page. To enable recovery mechanisms to detect inconsistent segment structures, redundant structures can be maintained independently of index pages that define the unique association between object identifiers and pages. All TCB primitives would be designed to reflect every update of an index page in the redundant structure also, and vice versa; however, updates would be reflected only after disk writes to originals had completed successfully (i.e., disk writes to index pages are synchronous). Recovery mechanisms would detect, and possibly correct, inconsistencies of segment representation by comparing the contents of index pages with those of the corresponding redundant structures. The additional ability to detect which of the two structures is affected by a failure, and the ability to ensure that one of the two structures survives all expected failures, enables recovery mechanisms to correct either one of the two structures, as necessary.
Redundancy of segment representation structures can't guarantee that the segment contents would be internally consistent, nor that they would be consistent with the contents of other segments. Failure-atomicity of TCB primitives wouldn't be guaranteed in any way by the maintenance of redundant structures suggested in Example 2, although similar structures could be used as the basis for additional mechanisms which would implement failure atomicity .
The ordering of synchronous disk-write operations is enforced by UNIX kernels . For example, whenever the "unlink" primitive deletes the last link to an object and deallocates the object, and whenever the "creat" primitive allocates an object and places a reference to it in a directory, the disk-write operations are ordered as suggested in (1) of Section 184.108.40.206 and are performed synchronously. User-level references are represented in UNIX by i-node numbers in directory entries, object maps by -nodes, and object representations by disk blocks. Reference [1, ch. 5] describes the negative consequences of not ordering the disk-write operations, and of not doing them synchronously.
The UNIX program "fsck" is also a good example of a typical recovery program. Fsck detects dangling i-nodes and i-node numbers, duplicate i-nodes associated with the same disk block, unbalanced i-node references and object links, as well as lost and corrupted i-nodes and disk blocks. However, for dangling i-nodes and -node numbers, duplicate i-nodes associated with the same disk block, and unbalanced i-node references and object links, "fsck" requires the intervention of administrative users to resolve inconsistencies. As pointed out in , seldom is enough information available enabling administrators to make correct decisions and resolve inconsistencies. Suggested changes proposed in  would help administrators make sound low-level recovery decisions. Thus, not only should non-atomic system primitives be designed to support recovery but recovery mechanisms should enable administrators to make correct recovery decisions.
Example 2---The Cambridge File Server
The Cambridge File Server (CFS) actually implements failure-atomic updates of individual files . Although a good example of disk redundancy, the mechanism provided by CFS can be used to guarantee only that recovery mechanisms can reconstruct consistent file structures, not necessarily file Contents.
In the CFS, a file's representation on the disk consists of one or more index pages pointing to data pages. A file can be viewed as a single-root tree whose nodes are index pages and whose leaves are data pages. CFS maintains a redundant structure, called the cylinder map, to represent the relationship between file identifiers, file pages, and page status for all objects of each disk cylinder. Each cylinder map entry contains (1) the unique identifier of the file to which the defined page belongs, (2) the tree address occupied by the page in the file representation, and (3) the allocation and use state of the page. Thus, each disk page is defined by its entry in the cylinder map and by its position in the tree of pages representing the structure.
The CFS primitives update the cylinder maps only after a file's tree is updated consistently. Thus, the CFS recovery procedures can rebuild the file system structure using redundant information after a crash-producing failure. For example, whenever a crash corrupts a file's index page, the recovery procedures search the cylinder maps to find all pages belonging to that file. At the end of the search, all pages referenced by the corrupted index page and their tree positions are found, and the corrupted index page can be reconstructed. Conversely, whenever a cylinder map is corrupted by a crash, the recovery procedures examine each file structure starting at the root of the file system to find all disk pages belonging to the corrupted cylinder map. At the end of the search, which may include the entire file system and may take as long as half an hour with current disk technology, the corrupted cylinder map is reconstructed.
The cylinder maps of the CFS are used for additional functions, including that of keeping status information for pages of intention sets. Although the use of the redundancy function of cylinder maps in providing recoverable storage for implementing atomic actions has been less successful than that used in shadow paging , the use of this function for automated recovery of file system structures is quite adequate.
Example 3---Selective Atomicity
Another approach to recovery in a secure state without using atomic TCB primitives is "selective atomicity." Selective atomicity means that only a subset of the TCB actions are atomic when operating on a specific subset of TCB objects. The intent is to preserve the consistency of the representation of certain objects (e.g., those implemented in nonvolatile storage) and object hierarchies (e.g., file systems) but not necessarily of object contents. Whenever it's security-relevant, the consistency of object contents is left in the care of the particular application. Special atomicity mechanisms maintain the consistency of the content of security-relevant objects -a small subset of all system's objects.
The advantages of using the selective-atomicity approach are that the performance penalties of full atomicity are avoided and system recovery in a secure state is simplified. For example, recovery programs could restore the structure of a file system (including directories, disk blocks, and indices to physical records), minimizing administrative intervention -a feature not found in most recovery programs such as the "fsck."
Selective atomicity exists in the AIX system version 3.1. In this system, a fairly robust file system is obtained by implementing atomic updates for segments that contain directories, i-nodes, and indirect file blocks. Also, any change to the disk- block allocation map is atomic . The implementation of the atomicity features is based on logging using a concept called "database memory," because of its resemblance to the logging features of database management systems . Note that the selective atomicity implemented in AlX 3.1 does not refer to non-kernel objects (e.g., objects implemented by system processes). Thus, a TCB using the AlX 3.1 kernel would have to carry out atomic or recoverable actions within trusted processes whenever such actions are required.
- (1) For the set of all state-transition failures, TCB recovery
code should ensure the restoration of the secure input state;
i.e., remove all temporary modifications of the secure state
which violate security invariants.
- (2) For the set of expected TCB or media failures (appropriately
chosen by the system designers), TCB code that causes state transitions
should be designed, whenever possible, to make secure-state transitions
atomic; i.e., the recovery mechanisms should reconstruct either
the secure input states or the secure output states of those
- (3) For the subset of state transitions that aren't atomic
in the face of expected TCB or media failures, the recovery mechanisms
should detect that these state transitions have left the TCB
in insecure states. TCB-supported administrative tools should
enable the reconstruction of a predictable secure state, with
or without administrative-user intervention. This state may differ
from both the secure input and output states of the transition
during which the failure occurred.
- (4) For the complementary set of "unexpected" or
rare TCB and media failures, administrative procedures and tools
(used to restore a predictable secure state) should be defined
and documented. This secure state also may differ from both the
secure input and output states of the transition during which
the failure occurred.
If user applications require higher degrees of integrity and availability than those supported by the TCB, they could always implement additional, separate recovery mechanisms. In fact, this approach is taken by most current applications including database management systems [14,15]. This approach is also sound from a system architecture point of view because it separates application recovery mechanisms from those of the TCB. Support of application level recovery within the TCB is both unnecessary and unwarranted. It's unnecessary because application portability rules out reliance on the recovery features of a specific TCB, and thus applications tend to implement their own recovery features. It's unwarranted because it violates the class B3-A1 requirement for TCB minimality and increases the assurance burden.
Trusted recovery requires that the state-transition models used for secure system design include both state invariants and transition constraints. A model that includes only state invariants is inadequate because trusted recovery requires that state-transition constraints be satisfied (viz., discussion in Section 3.2). Similarly, a model that includes only transition constraints is inadequate because the occurrence of unanticipated failures and discontinuities of operations may prevent the system from completing state transitions and place it in insecure states. These states can only be determined to be insecure after checking that secure-state invariants are not satisfied (viz., discussion in Section 3.1).
The reader should note that state-transition models of security policy are particularly suitable for the design of trusted recovery mechanisms. Because these models include the notion of secure states and secure state transitions, they can be integrated with recovery models, all defined in terms of states and state transitions (which are possibly different). Unlike the state-transition models, information flow and noninterference models don't include explicitly the notions of state and state transitions, and thus are more difficult, if not impossible, to use for defining formally the notion of trusted recovery. Furthermore, information flow and noninterference models cover nondiscretionary access controls and thus lack discretionary access control and other policy components. This makes the use of such models impractical for the formal definition of trusted recovery.
In the operational assurance area, only the trusted facility management and the system architecture areas have specific requirements relevant to trusted recovery. Because system integrity requirements refer to the diagnostic testing of the hardware and firmware elements of the TCB, they have no special relevance here beyond that of addressing hardware/firmware elements that may include recovery mechanisms. Covert channel analysis of TCB interfaces offered by trusted recovery isn't necessary.
Administrative users are the only users who may use trusted recovery mechanisms. They have multi-level access to system and user data and are trusted to maintain the data secrecy and not exploit covert channels while operating in administrative roles. Thus, administrative users must be cleared to the highest level of data classification present on the system. Furthermore, all code implementing trusted recovery functions should be scrutinized to ensure, to the largest extent possible, these functions don't contain any Trojan Horses or Trap Doors.
Most system-architecture requirements of the TCB apply to trusted-recovery code. For example, TCB programs and data structures implementing trusted recovery must comply with the following requirements:
- a. Satisfy modularity requirements.
- b. Make significant use of abstraction and information hiding.
- c. Use layering of recovery functions.
- d. Satisfy the requirements of the least privilege principle
to the largest possible extent.
The only trusted facility management requirement affecting trusted recovery is that of segregating the security-relevant from the security-irrelevant administrative functions. Because trusted recovery functions are obviously security relevant, they must be allocated either to the System Administrator or to the System Programmer roles .
The objectives of security testing suggest that security testing should be performed using test fixtures external to the TCB, should not require TCB instrumentation, should be repeatable, and should include precise coverage analysis. For testing trusted recovery functions, only the requirements of class B3 are relevant because, as discussed below, formal top-level specifications aren't necessary for trusted recovery, viz., .
However, only state-transition failures and discontinuities of operation (but not all TCB and media failures) can be generated from outside the TCB in a repeatable manner and without any TCB instrumentation. Whenever TCB and media failures cannot be generated from outside the TCB in a repeatable manner and without any internal TCB instrumentation, design and implementation analysis and review are necessary to determine whether the recovery mechanisms can handle the untested failure responses. State-transition failures can be generated using similar test-plan structures and programs as those used for security testing of other TCB areas, e.g., testing security policy enforcement and covert channel bandwidth.
Discontinuities of operation can be generated using administrative interfaces in ways causing at least some TCB, and possibly media, failures repeatedly. In contrast, spontaneous TCB and media failures cannot be regenerated without software and hardware instrumentation of the TCB. Use of such instrumentation would violate one of the major objectives of security testing. Recall that TCB instrumentation is undesirable because either it precludes testing the system in normal mode configuration or it leaves test fixtures that may become exploitable Trap Doors in the TCB. Therefore, security testing of trusted recovery functions is limited to the use of test plans, i.e., test conditions, data, and coverage analysis, which cover only state- transition failures and discontinuity of operation, as defined in Chapter 2. Within this limited context, all conventional security-testing requirements and recommendations are applicable.
First, state-machine models enable designers and implementors to define the notions of secure system states and state transitions. These notions are the key to trusted recovery as they provide the security invariants and constraints recovery mechanisms should satisfy. Recovery functions earn their trust only if they satisfy these invariants and constraints, as discussed in Chapter 4.
Second, the response of TCB primitives to state-transition failures (defined in Chapter 2) is modeled by formal security-policy models and specified by top-level specifications. For example, the Bell-La Padula model represents a clear, albeit incomplete, attempt to model these failures through the provision of the "error" and "?" elements of the TCB response set (Dm) to invocations of TCB requests (Rk) . Thus, the specification of error messages and exceptions provided by TCB primitives in response to state-transition failures also is required for trusted recovery reasons.
All TCB recovery procedures must be defined in the TFM. These procedures include analyzing system "dumps" after crashes, crash-recovery and restart actions, checking the consistency of TCB files and directories, changing system configuration parameters (e.g., table sizes, devices and device drivers, etc.), running periodic system-integrity checks, and repairing object inconsistencies and damaged labels. A list of the approved tools for TCB recovery, relevant commands, exceptions, warnings, and advice also should be in the TFM.
However, the content of these sections should differ substantially from that of other test plans. For example, the test conditions should identify the type of discontinuity of operation (and the induced TCB or media failure) generated by using the administrative interfaces for the current test. In the test data area, the environment setup should define the system initialization data, including TCB and user-level data structures and objects, which are necessary to generate the specified discontinuity of operation. The parameters and the commands used by administrators to generate discontinuity of operation also should be listed.
The outcomes of the test should include the specification of the automated (e.g., reboot, warm-start) procedures and of the manual (e.g., cold-start, emergency restart) procedures for trusted recovery and their expected effects on the system.
The coverage analysis should explain the scope of the tests in terms of the classes of discontinuities covered by the test and the classes of spontaneous failures remaining uncovered because of inability to induce them by administrative action.
- a. Description of the anticipated classes of failures and discontinuities
of operation handled, automatically or using administrative procedures,
by trusted recovery.
- b. Trusted recovery philosophy (e.g., use of failure-atomicity
in the design of TCB primitives, of non-atomic actions which
allow recovery of secure states, the type of recovered secure
states-input-secure state, output- secure state of a transition,
or some arbitrary secure state).
- c. Warnings about the "unanticipated" failures that
can't be handled in a routine manner.
- d. State-security invariants and constraints maintained by
- e. Descriptive Top-Level Specification (DTLS) of the TCB primitives
implementing trusted-recovery functions.
- a. Satisfy modularity requirements.
- b. Make significant use of abstraction, information hiding,
and layering in the design and implementation of trusted recovery
- a. A formal security model should be used to define the TCB
response to state-transition failures (defined in Chapter 2 and
discussed in Section 5.2).
- b. A formal security model should be used for the derivation
of the security policy invariants and constraints used for the
design of trusted recovery.
- c. Additional invariants and constraints should be used for
the design of trusted recovery in the accountability area as
- a. Procedures for analysis of system dumps, for consistency
checking of TCB objects, and for system cold start and emergency
- b. A description of the types of tolerated failures and examples
of the recommended procedures for responding to such failures.
- c. Procedures for running periodic integrity checks on the
TCB database and for repairing damaged security labels.
- d. Procedures for handling inconsistencies of the system objects
(e.g., duplicate allocation of disk blocks to objects, inconsistent
- e. Lists of commands, system calls, and function definitions
for trusted recovery (whenever these aren't documented in the
- f. Examples of, and warnings about, potential misuse of trusted
- a. Test conditions; i.e., a list of discontinuities of operation
that can be generated through administrative interfaces and their
effects on the system.
- b. Test data, consisting of the following:
- (1) Environment setup; e.g., the TCB and user-level data
structures and objects needed to generate the planned discontinuity.
- (2) Parameters and commands used by the administrators
to generate the discontinuity.
- (3) Expected outcome; e.g., the type of procedures that
are started automatically or manually for handling the
generated discontinuity and the effect of those procedures
on the system state.
- (1) Environment setup; e.g., the TCB and user-level data structures and objects needed to generate the planned discontinuity.
- c. Coverage analysis; e.g., this includes a list of failures,
or classes of failures, whose effect is covered by the generated
discontinuities, and a list of spontaneous failures, or classes
of failures, whose effect isn't covered by the test.
- Documentation shall describe the following:
- a. Interfaces between the TCB modules implementing trusted
- b. Specific TCB protection mechanisms used ensuring trusted-recovery
functions are available only to administrative users.
- c. DTLS of the TCB modules implementing interfaces of trusted
recovery; (Formal Top Level Specifications (FTLS) aren't required
for trusted recovery interfaces---viz., relevant discussion in
 for administrative interfaces).
- Design documentation also should include a description of the
- a. Anticipated classes of failures and discontinuities of operation
handled by trusted recovery, automatically or using administrative
- b. Trusted recovery philosophy; viz., Section 5.3.
- c. Warnings concerning the "unanticipated" (i.e.,
rare) failures that can't be handled in a routine manner.
- d. State-security invariants and constraints maintained by
- e. DTLS of the TCB primitives implementing trusted-recovery
- The accuracy of the design documentation should be commensurate
with that of other similar documentation for B3 and A1 systems.
A specific type of interaction between a subject and an object that results in the flow of information from one to the other.
See Security Administrator.
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.
To conduct the independent review and examination of system records and activities.
An authorized individual, or role, with administrative duties, which include selecting the events to be audited on the system, performing system operations to enable the recording of those events, and analyzing the trail of audit events.
The device, or devices, used to collect, review, and/or examine system activities.
A chronological record of system activities that is sufficient to enable the reconstruction, reviewing, and examination of the sequence of environments and activities surrounding or leading to an operation, a procedure, or an event in a transaction from its inception to final results.
A restrictive label that has been applied to classified or unclassified data as a means of increasing the protection of the data and further restriCting access to the data.
A system failure that causes the processors' registers to be reset to some standard values.
Information with a specific physical representation.
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 (DAC)
A means of restricting access to objects based on the identity and need-to- know of the user, process and/or groups to which they belong, or based on the possession of system-protected tickets that contain privileges for objects (e.g., capabilities). 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.
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, denotational semantics models, and algebraic specification models.
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.
An ordered list of actions (e.g., procedure calls, etc.) is said to be idempotent if repeated incomplete executions of that list of actions followed by a complete execution has the effect of a single complete execution of that list of actions. An idempotent action is a restartable action; i.e., if the action was in progress at the time of a crash, the action can be repeated during crash recovery with no undesirable side effects [14,21].
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, programs, bits, bytes, words, fields, processors, video displays, keyboards, clocks, printers, and network nodes.
An administrative role or user assigned to perform routine maintenance operations of the ADP system and to respond to routine user requests.
A protected/private character string used to authenticate an identity.
A program in execution.
A fundamental operation that results only in the flow of information from an object to a subject.
An administrative role or user responsible for the security of an Automated Information System and having the authority to enforce the security safeguards on all others who have access to the Automated Information System (with the possible exception of the Auditor.)
The combination of a hierarchical classification and a set of non-hierarchical categories that represents the sensitivity of information.
A map defining the correspondence between the binary and ASCll formats of security levels (e.g., between binary format of security levels and sensitivity labels).
The set of laws, rules, and practices that regulate how an organization manages, protects, and distributes sensitive information.
SECURITY POLICY MODEL
A presentation of the security policy model enforced by the system. It must identify the set of rules and practices that regulate how a system manages, protects, and distributes sensitive information.
A process used to determine that the security features of a system are implemented as designed. This includes hands-on functional testing, penetration testing, and verification.
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.
An administrative role or user responsible for the trusted system distribution, configuration, installation, and non-routine maintenance.
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.
A hidden software or hardware mechanism that can be triggered to permit system protection mechanisms to be circumvented. It is activated in some innocent-appearing manner (e.g., a special "random" key sequence at a terminal). Software developers often introduce trap doors in their code to enable them to re-enter the system and perform certain functions. Synonymous with back door.
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 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 TCB to enforce correctly a unified 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 level) related to the security policy.
Person or process accessing an Automated Information System either by direct connections (i.e., via terminals), or indirect connections (i.e., prepare input data or receive output that is not reviewed for content or classification by a responsible individual).
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.
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