Sequence Diagrams Aided Security Policy Specification




Shen, Hui
Krishnan, Ram
Slavin, Rocky
Niu, Jianwei

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UTSA Department of Computer Science


A fundamental problem in the specification of regulatory privacy policies such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in a computer system is to state the policies precisely, consistent with their high-level intuition. In this paper, we propose UML Sequence Diagrams as a practical tool to graphically express privacy policies. A graphical representation allows decision-makers such as application domain experts and security architects to easily verify and confirm the expected behavior. Once intuitively confirmed, our work in this article introduces an algorithmic approach to formalizing the semantics of Sequence Diagrams in terms of Linear Temporal Logic (LTL) templates. In all the templates, different semantic aspects are expressed as separate, yet simple LTL formulas that can be composed to define the complex semantics of Sequence Diagrams. The formalization enables us to leverage the analytical powers of automated decision procedures for LTL formulas to determine if a collection of Sequence Diagrams is consistent, independent, etc. and also to verify if a system design conforms to the privacy policies. We evaluate our approach by modeling and analyzing a substantial subset of HIPAA rules using Sequence Diagrams.



formal verification, sequence diagram, temporal logic, privacy policy, HIPAA



Computer Science