NCSC-TG-023: Bright Orange book

by The Editor [Published on 16 Oct. 2002 / Last Updated on 24 Jan. 2013]

A Guide to Understanding Security Testing and Test Documentation in Trusted Systems




                         A GUIDE TO


                      SECURITY TESTING


                       TEST DOCUMENTATION


                      TRUSTED SYSTEMS

                      July 1993

              Approved for Public Release:

              Distribution Unlimited.

Library No. S-232.561


The National Computer Security Center is issuing A Guide to Understanding Security Testing
and Test Documentation in Trusted Systems as part of the "Rainbow Series" of documents our
Technical Guidelines Program produces. In the Rainbow Series, we discuss in detail the features
of the Department of Defense Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (DoD 5200.28-STD)
and provide guidance for meeting each requirement. The National Computer Security Center,
through its Trusted Product Evaluation Program, evaluates the security features of commercially
produced computer systems. Together, these programs ensure that users are capable of protecting
their important data with trusted computer systems.

The specific guidelines in this document provide a set of good practices related to security testing
and the development of test documentation. This technical guideline has been written to help the
vendor and evaluator community understand what deliverables are required for test documentation,
as well as the level of detail required of security testing at all classes in the Trusted Computer System
Evaluation Criteria.

As the Director, National Computer Security Center, Invite your suggestions for revision to this
technical guideline. We plan to review this document as the need arises.

National Computer Security Center

Attention: Chief, Standard, Criteria and Guidelines Division

9800 Savage Road

Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-6000

Patrick R. Gallagher, Jr.       January, 1994


National Computer Security Center


Special recognition and acknowledgment for his contributions to this document are extended to
Virgil D. Gligor, University of Maryland, as primary author of this document.

Special thanks are extended to those who enthusiastically gave of their time and technical
expertise in reviewing this guideline and providing valuable comments and suggestions. The
assistance of C. Sekar Chandersekaran, IBM and Charles Bonneau, Honeywell Federal Systems,
in the preparation of the examples presented in this guideline is gratefully acknowledged.

Special recognition is extended to MAJ James P. Gordon, U.S. Army, and Leon Neufeld as
National Computer Security Center project managers for this guideline.


FOREWORD        i



1.1 PURPOSE     1

1.2 SCOPE       1




2.2 PURPOSE     3

2.3 PROCESS     4

2.3.1 System Analysis   4

2.3.2 Functional Testing        4

2.3.3 Security Testing  5



2.6 TEST SITE   17

EXAMPLES        8




3.3.1 Monolithic (Black-Box) Testing    11

3.3.2 Functional-Synthesis (White-Box) Testing  13

3.3.3 Gray-Box Testing  25



3.5.1 Overview  21

3.5.2 Test Plan 22 Test Conditions 22 Test Data       24 Coverage Analysis       25

3.5.3 Test Procedures   27

3.5.4 Test Programs     27

3.5.5 Test Log  28

3.5.6 Test Report       28


3.6.1 The Need for Hardware/Firmware Security Testing   29

3.6.2 Explicit TCSEC Requirements for Hardware Security Testing 30

3.6.3 Hardware Security Testing vs. System Integrity Testing    31

3.6.4 Goals, Philosophy, and Approaches to Hardware Security Testing    31

3.6.5 Test Conditions, Data, and Coverage Analysis for Hardware Security
Testing 32 Test Conditions for Isolation and Noncircumventability Testing  32 Text Conditions for Policy-Relevant Processor Instructions      33 Tests Conditions for Generic Security Flaws     33

3.6.6 Relationship between Hardware/Firmware Security Testing and the TCSEC
Requirements    34


3.7.1 Example of a Test Plan for "Access"       37 Test Conditions for Mandatory Access Control of "Access"        38 Test Data for MAC Tests 38 Coverage Analysis       39

3.7.2 Example of a Test Plan for "Open" 43 Test Conditions for "Open"      43 Test Data for the Access Graph Dependency Condition     44 Coverage Analysis       46

3.7.3 Examples of a Test Plan for "Read"        46 Test Conditions for "Read"      47 Test Data for the Access-Check Dependency Condition     47 Coverage Analysis       51

3.7.4 Examples of Kernel Isolation Test Plans   51 Test Conditions 51 Test Data       51 Coverage Analysis       53

3.7.5 Examples of Reduction of Cyclic Test Dependencies 54

3.7.6 Example of Test Plans for Hardware/Firmware Security Testing      57 Test Conditions for the Ring Crossing Mechanism 58 Test Data       58 Coverage Analysis       60

3.7.7 Relationship with the TCSEC Requirements  62




4.2.1 Test Plan for the Upgraded Directory Channel      67 Test Condition  68 Test Data       68 Coverage Analysis       70

4.2.2 Test Programs     70

4.2.3 Test Results      70



APPENDIX        73

1 Specification-to-Code Correspondence  73

2 Informal Methods for Specification-to-Code Correspondence     74

3 An Example of Specification-to-Code Correspondence    76

GLOSSARY        83



The National Computer Security Center (NCSC) encourages the widespread availability of
trusted computer systems. In support of this goal the Department of Defense Trusted Computer
System Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC) was created as a metric against which computer systems could
be evaluated. The NCSC published the TCSEC on 15 August 1983 as CSC-STD-001-83. In
December 1985, the Department of Defense (DoD) adopted it, with a few changes, as a DoD
Standard, DoD 5200.28-STD. [13] DoD Directive 5200.28, "Security Requirements for Automatic
Data Processing (ADP) Systems," requires that the TCSEC be used throughout the DoD. The NCSC
uses the TCSEC as a standard for evaluating the effectiveness of security controls built into ADP
systems. The TCSEC is divided into four divisions: D, C, B, and A. These divisions are ordered in
a hierarchical manner with the highest division (A) being reserved for systems providing the best
available level of assurance. Within divisions C and B there are a number of subdivisions known
as classes. In turn, these classes are also ordered in a hierarchical manner to represent different
levels of security.


Security testing is a requirement for TCSEC classes C1 though A1. This testing determines that
security features for a system are implemented as designed and that they are adequate for the
specified level of trust. The TCSEC also requires test documentation to support the security testing
of the security features of a system. The TCSEC evaluation process includes security testing and
evaluation of test documentation of a system by an NCSC evaluation team. A Guide to
Understanding Security Testing and Test Documentation for Trusted Systems will assist the
operating system developers and vendors in the development of computer security testing and testing
procedures. This guideline gives system developers and vendors suggestions and recommendations
on how to develop testing and testing documentation that will be found acceptable by an NCSC
Evaluation Team.


TCSEC classes C1 through A1 assurance is gained through security testing and the accompanying
test documentation of the ADP system. Security testing and test documentation ensures that the
security features of the system are implemented as designed and are adequate for an application
environment. This guideline discusses the development of security testing and test documentation
for system developers and vendors to prepare them for the evaluation process by the NCSC. This
guideline addresses, in detail, various test methods and their applicability to security and
accountability policy testing. The Trusted Computing Base (TCB) isolation, noncircumventability
testing, processor testing, and covert channel testing methods are examples.

This document provides an in-depth guide to security testing. This includes the definitions,
writing and documentation of the test plans for security and a brief discussion of the mapping
between the formal top-level specification (FTLS) of a TCB and the TCB implementation
specifications. This document also provides a standard format for test plans and test result
presentation. Extensive documentation of security testing and specification-to-code correspondence
arise both during a system evaluation and, more significantly, during a system life cycle. This
guideline addresses evaluation testing, not life-cycle testing. This document complements the
security testing guideline that appears in Section 10 of the TCSEC.

The scope and approach of this document is to assist the vendor in security testing and in particular
functional testing. The vendor is responsible for functional testing, not penetration testing. If
necessary, penetration testing is conducted by an NCSC evaluation team. The team collectively
identifies penetration vulnerabilities of a system and rates them relative to ease of attack and
difficulty of developing a hierarchy penetration scenario. Penetration testing is then conducted
according to this hierarchy, with the most critical and easily executed attacks attempted first [17].

This guideline emphasizes the testing of systems to meet the requirements of the TCSEC. A Guide
to Understanding Security Testing and Test Documentation for Trusted Systems does not address
the testing of networks, subsystems, or new versions of evaluated computer system products. It only
addresses the requirements of the TCSEC.

Information in this guideline derived from the requirements of the TCSEC is prefaced by the
word "shall." Recommendations that are derived from commonly accepted good practices are
prefaced by the word "should." The guidance contained herein is intended to be used when
conducting and documenting security functional testing of an operating system. The
recommendations in this document are not to be construed as supplementary requirements to the
TCSEC. The TCSEC is the only metric against which systems are to be evaluated.

Throughout this guideline there are examples, illustrations, or citations of test plan formats that
have been used in commercial product development. The use of these examples, illustrations, and
citations is not meant to imply that they contain the only acceptable test plan formats. The selection
of these examples is based solely on their availability in computer security literature. Examples in
this document are not to be construed as the only implementations that will satisfy the TCSEC
requirements. The examples are suggestions of appropriate implementations.


The TCSEC and DoD 5200.28-M [14] provide the control objectives for security testing and
documentation. Specifically these documents state the following:

"Component's Designated Approving Authorities, or their designees for this purpose . . .
will assure:. . .

"4.  Maintenance of documentation on operating systems (O/S) and all modifications
thereto, and its retention for a sufficient period of time to enable tracing of security-related
defects to their point of origin or inclusion in the system.

"5.  Supervision, monitoring, and testing, as appropriate, of changes in an approved ADP
System that could affect the security features of the system, so that a secure system is

"6. Proper disposition and correction of security deficiencies in all approved ADP
Systems, and the effective use and disposition of system housekeeping or audit records,
records of security violations or security-related system malfunctions, and records of tests
of the security features of an ADP System.

"7. Conduct of competent system Security Testing and Evaluation (ST&E), timely review
of system ST&E reports, and correction of deficiencies needed to support conditional or
final approval or disapproval of an ADP system for the processing of classified

"8. Establishment, where appropriate, of a central ST&E coordination point for the
maintenance of records of selected techniques, procedures, standards, and tests used in
testing and evaluation of security features of ADP systems which may be suitable for
validation and use by other Department of Defense components."

Section 5 of the TCSEC gives the following as the Assurance Control Objective:

"The third basic control objective is concerned with guaranteeing or providing confidence
that the security policy has been implemented correctly and that the protection critical
elements of the system do, indeed, accurately mediate and enforce the intent of that policy.
By extension, assurance must include a guarantee that the trusted portion of the system
works only as intended. To accomplish these objectives, two types of assurance are
needed. They are life-cycle assurance and operational assurance.

"Life-cycle assurance refers to steps taken by an organization to ensure that the system
is designed, developed, and maintained using formalized and rigorous controls and
standards. Computer systems that process and store sensitive or classified information
depend on the hardware and software to protect that information. It follows that the
hardware and software themselves must be protected against unauthorized changes that
could cause protection mechanisms to malfunction or be bypassed completely. For this
reason, trusted computer systems must be carefully evaluated and tested during the design
and development phases and reevaluated whenever changes are made that could affect
the integrity of the protection mechanisms. Only in this way can confidence be provided
that the hardware and software interpretation of the security policy is maintained
accurately and without distortion." [13]


This section provides the objectives, purpose, and a brief overview of vendor and NCSC security
testing. Test team composition, test site location, testing process, and system documentation are
also discussed.


The objectives of security testing are to uncover all design and implementation flaws that enable
a user external to the TCB to violate security and accountability policy, isolation, and


Security testing involves determining (1) a system security mechanism adequacy for
completeness and correctness and (2) the degree of consistency between system documentation and
actual implementation. This is accomplished through a variety of assurance methods such as analysis
of system design documentation, inspection of test documentation, and independent execution of
functional testing and penetration testing.


A qualified NCSC team of experts is responsible for independently evaluating commercial
products to determine if they satisfy TCSEC requirements. The NCSC is also responsible for
maintaining a listing of evaluated products on the NCSC Evaluated Products List (EPL). To
accomplish this mission, the NCSC Trusted Product Evaluation Program has been established to
assist vendors in developing, testing, and evaluating trusted products for the EPL. Security testing
is an integral part of the evaluation process as described in the Trusted Product Evaluations-A
Guide For Vendors. [18]

2.3.1 System Analysis

System analysis is used by the NCSC evaluation team to obtain a complete and in-depth
understanding of the security mechanisms and operations of a vendor's product prior to conducting
security testing. A vendor makes available to an NCSC team any information and training to support
the NCSC team members in their understanding of the system to be tested. The NCSC team will
become intimately familiar with a vendor's system under evaluation and will analyze the product
design and implementation, relative to the TCSEC.

System candidates for TCSEC ratings B2 through A1 are subject to verification and covert channel
analyses. Evaluation of these systems begins with the selection of a test configuration, evaluation
of vendor security testing documentation, and preparation of an NCSC functional test plan.

2.3.2 Functional Testing

Initial functional testing is conducted by the vendor and results are presented to the NCSC team.
The vendor should conduct extensive functional testing of its product during development, field
testing, or both. Vendor testing should be conducted by procedures defined in a test plan. Significant
events during testing should be placed in a test log. As testing proceeds sequentially through each
test case, the vendor team should identify flaws and deficiencies that will need to be corrected.
When a hardware or software change is made, the test procedure that uncovered the problem should
then be repeated to validate that the problem has been corrected. Care should be taken to verify that
the change does not affect any previously tested procedure. These procedures also should be repeated
when there is concern that flaws or deficiencies exist. When the vendor team has corrected all
functional problems and the team has analyzed and retested all corrections, a test report should be
written and made a part of the report for review by the NCSC test team prior to NCSC security testing.

The NCSC team is responsible for testing vendor test plans and reviewing vendor test
documentation. The NCSC team will review the vendor's functional test plan to ensure it sufficiently
covers each identified security mechanism and explanation in sufficient depth to provide reasonable
assurance that the security features are implemented as designed and are adequate for an application
environment. The NCSC team conducts its own functional testing and, if appropriate, penetration
testing after a vendor's functional testing has been completed.

A vendor's product must be free of design and implementation changes, and the documentation
to support security testing must be completed before NCSC team functional testing. Functional
security testing is conducted on C1 through A1 class systems and penetration testing on B2, B3,
and A1 class systems. The NCSC team may choose to repeat any of the functional tests performed
by the vendor and/or execute its own functional test. During testing by the NCSC team, the team
informs the vendor of any test problems and provides the vendor with an opportunity to correct
implementation flaws. If the system satisfies the functional test requirements, B2 and above
candidates undergo penetration testing. During penetration testing the NCSC team collectively
identifies penetration vulnerabilities in the system and rates them relative to ease of attack and
difficulty in developing a penetration hierarchy. Penetration testing is then conducted according to
this hierarchy with the most critical and most easily executed attacks attempted first [17]. The vendor
is given limited opportunity to correct any problems identified [17]. When opportunity to correct
implementation flaws has been provided and corrections have been retested, the NCSC team
documents the test results. The test results are input which support a final rating, the publication of
the Final Report and the EPL entry.

2.3.3 Security Testing

Security testing is primarily the responsibility of the NCSC evaluation team. It is important to
note, however, that vendors shall perform security testing on a product to be evaluated using NCSC
test methods and procedures. The reason for vendor security testing is two-fold: First, any TCB
changes required as a result of design analysis or formal evaluation by the NCSC team will require
that the vendor (and subsequently the evaluation team) retest the TCB to ensure that its security
properties are unaffected and the required changes fixed the test problems. Second, any new system
release that affects the TCB must undergo either a reevaluation by the NCSC or a rating-maintenance
evaluation by the vendor itself. If a rating maintenance is required, which is expected to be the case
for the preponderant number of TCB changes, the security testing responsibility, including all the
documentation evidence, becomes a vendor's responsibility-not just that of the NCSC evaluation

Furthermore, it is important to note that the system configuration provided to the evaluation team
for security testing should be the same as that used by the vendor itself. This ensures that consistent
test results are obtained. It also allows the evaluation team to examine the vendor test suite and to
focus on areas deemed to be insufficiently tested. Identifying these areas will help speed the security
testing of a product significantly. (An important implication of reusing the vendor's test suite is that
security testing should yield repeatable results.)

When the evaluation team completes the security testing, the test results are shown to the vendor.
If any TCB changes are required, the vendor shall correct or remove those flaws before TCB retesting
by the NCSC team is performed.


Vendor system documentation requirements will vary, and depending on the TCSEC class a
candidate system will be evaluated for, it can consist of the following:

Security Features User's Guide. It describes the protection mechanisms provided by
the TCB, guidelines on their use, and how they interact with one another. This may be
used to identify the protection mechanisms that need to be covered by test procedures
and test cases.

Trusted Facility Manual. It describes the operation and administration of security
features of the system and presents cautions about functions and privileges that should
be controlled when running a secure facility. This may identify additional functions that
need to be tested.

Design Documentation. It describes the philosophy of protection, TCB interfaces,
security policy model, system architecture, TCB protection mechanisms, top level
specifications, verification plan, hardware and software architecture, system configuration
and administration, system programming guidelines, system library routines,
programming languages, and other topics.

Covert Channel Analysis Documentation. It describes the determination and maximum
bandwidth of each identified channel.

System Integrity Documentation. It describes the hardware and software features used
to validate periodically the correct operation of the on-site hardware and firmware
elements of the TCB.

Trusted Recovery Documentation. It describes procedures and mechanisms assuring
that after an ADP system failure or other discontinuity, recovery is obtained without a
protection compromise. Information describing procedures and mechanisms may also be
found in the Trusted Facility Manual.

Test Documentation. It describes the test plan, test logs, test reports, test procedures,
and test results and shows how the security mechanisms were functionally tested, covert
channel bandwidth, and mapping between the FTLS and the TCB source code. Test
documentation is used to document plans, tests, and results in support of validating and
verifying the security testing effort.


A vendor test team should be formed to conduct security testing. It is desirable for a vendor to
provide as many members from its security testing team as possible to support the NCSC during
its security testing. The reason for this is to maintain continuity and to minimize the need for
retraining throughout the evaluation process. The size, education, and skills of the test team will
vary depending on the size of the system and the class for which it is being evaluated. (See Chapter
10 of the TCSEC, "A Guideline on Security Testing.")

A vendor security testing team should be comprised of a team leader and two or more additional
members depending on the evaluated class. In selecting personnel for the test team, it is important
to assign individuals who have the ability to understand the hardware and software architecture of
the system, as well as an appropriate level of experience in system testing. Engineers and scientists
with backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science and software engineering are ideal
candidates for functional security testing. Prior experience with penetration techniques is important
for penetration testing. A mathematics or logic background can be valuable in formal specifications
involved in A1 system evaluation.

The NCSC test team is formed using the guidance of Chapter 10, in the TCSEC, "A Guideline
on Security Testing." This chapter specifies test team composition, qualifications and parameters.
Vendors may find these requirements useful recommendations for their teams.


The location of a test site is a vendor responsibility. The vendor is to provide the test site. The
evaluator's functional test site may be located at the same site at which the vendor conducted his
functional testing. Proper hardware and software must be available for testing the configuration as
well as appropriate documentation, personnel, and other resources which have a significant impact
on the location of the test site.



Operating systems that support multiple users require security mechanisms and policies that
guard against unauthorized disclosure and modification of critical user data. The TCB is the principal
operating system component that implements security mechanisms and policies that must itself be
protected [13]. TCB protection is provided by a reference monitor mechanism whose data structures
and code are isolated, noncircumventable, and small enough to be verifiable. The reference monitor
ensures that the entire TCB is isolated and noncircumventable.

Although TCBs for different operating systems may contain different data structures and
programs, they all share the isolation, noncircumventability, and verifiability properties that
distinguish them from the rest of the operating system components. These properties imply that the
security functional testing of an operating system TCB may require different methods from those
commonly used in software testing for all security classes of the TCSEC.

Security testing should be done for TCBs that are configured and installed in a specific system
and operate in a normal mode (as opposed to maintenance or test mode). Tests should be done using
user-level programs that cannot read or write internal TCB data structures or programs. New data
structures and programs should also not be added to a TCB for security testing purposes, and special
TCB entry points that are unavailable to user programs should not be used. If a TCB is tested in the
maintenance mode using programs that cannot be run at the user level, the security tests would be
meaningless because assurance cannot be gained that the TCB performs user-level access control
correctly. If user-level test programs could read, write or add internal TCB data structures and
programs, as would be required by traditional instrumentation testing techniques, the TCB would
lose its isolation properties. If user-level test programs could use special TCB entry points not
normally available to users, the TCB would become circumventable in the normal mode of

Security testing of operating system TCBs in the normal mode of operation using user-level test
programs (which do not rely on breaching isolation and noncircumventability) should address the
following problems of TCB verifiability through security testing: (1) Coverage Analysis, (2)
Reduction of Cyclic Test Dependencies, (3) Test Environment Independence, and (4) Repeatability
of Security Testing.

(1) Coverage Analysis. Security testing requires that precise, extensive test coverage be obtained
during TCB testing. Test coverage analysis should be based on coverage of test conditions derived
from the Descriptive Top-Level Specification (DTLS)/Formal Top-Level Specification (FTLS), the
security and accountability model conditions, the TCB isolation and noncircumventability
properties, and the individual TCB-primitive implementation. Without covering such test
conditions, it would be impossible to claim reasonably that the tests cover specific security checks
in a demonstrable way. Whenever both DTLS and FTLS and security and accountability models
are unavailable or are not required, test conditions should be derived from documented protection
philosophy and resource isolation requirements [13]. It would be impossible to reasonably claim
that the implementation of a specific security check in a TCB primitive is correct without individual
TCB-primitive coverage. In these checks a TCB primitive may deal differently with different
parameters. In normal-mode testing, however, using user-level programs makes it difficult to
guarantee significant coverage of TCB-primitive implementation while eliminating redundant tests
that appear when multiple TCB primitives share the same security checks (a common occurrence
in TCB kernels).

The role of coverage analysis in the generation of test plans is discussed in Section 3.5.2, and
illustrated in Sections

(2) Reduction of Cyclic Test Dependencies. Comprehensive security testing suggests that cyclic
test dependencies be reduced to a minimum or eliminated whenever possible. A cyclic test
dependency exists between a test program for TCB primitive A and TCB primitive B if the test
program for TCB primitive A invokes TCB primitive B, and the test program for TCB primitive B
invokes TCB primitive A. The existence of cyclic test dependencies casts doubts on the level of
assurance obtained by TCB tests. Cyclic test dependencies cause circular arguments and
assumptions about test coverage and, consequently, the interpretation of the test results may be
flawed. For example, the test program for TCB primitive A, which depends on the correct behavior
of TCB primitive B, may not discover flaws in TCB primitive A because such flaws may be masked
by the behavior of B, and vice versa. Thus, both the assumptions (1) that the TCB primitive B works
correctly, which must be made in the test program for TCB primitive A, and (2) that TCB primitive
A works correctly, which must be made in the test program for TCB primitive B, are incorrect. The
elimination of cyclic test dependencies could be obtained only if the TCB is instrumented with
additional code and data structures an impossibility if TCB isolation and noncircumventability are
to be maintained in normal mode of operation.

An example of cyclic test dependencies, and of their removal, is provided in Section 3.7.5.

(3) Test Environment Independence. To minimize test program and test environment
dependencies the following should be reinitialized for different TCB-primitive tests: user accounts,
user groups, test objects, access privileges, and user security levels. Test environment initialization
may require that the number of different test objects to be created and logins to be executed become
very large. Therefore, in practice, complete TCB testing cannot be carried out manually. Testing
should be automated whenever possible. Security test automation is discussed in Section 3.2.

(4) Repeatability of Security Testing. TCB verifiability through security testing requires that the
results of each TCB-primitive test be repeatable. Without test repeatability it would be impossible
to evaluate developers' TCB test suites independently of the TCB developers. Independent TCB
testing may yield different outcomes from those expected if testing is not repeatable. Test
repeatability by evaluation teams requires that test plans and procedures be documented in an
accurate manner.


The automation of the test procedures is one of the most important practical objectives of security
testing. This objective is important for at least three reasons. First, the procedures for test
environment initialization include a large number of repetitive steps that do not require operator
intervention, and therefore, the manual performance of these steps may introduce avoidable errors
in the test procedures. Second, the test procedures must be carried out repeatedly once for every
system generation (e.g., system build) to ensure that security errors have not been introduced during
system maintenance. Repeated manual performance of the entire test suite may become a time
consuming, error-prone activity. Third, availability of automated test suites enables evaluators to
verify both the quality and extent of a vendor's test suite on an installed system in an expeditious
manner. This significantly reduces the time required to evaluate that vendor's test suite.

The automation of most test procedures depends to a certain extent on the nature of the TCB
interface under test. For example, for most TCB-primitive tests that require the same type of login,
file system and directory initialization, it is possible to automate the tests by grouping test procedures
in one or several user-level processes that are initiated by a single test-operator login. However,
some TCB interfaces, such as the login and password change interfaces, must be tested from a user
and administrator terminal. Similarly, the testing of the TCB interface primitives of B2 to Al systems
available to users only through trusted-path invocation requires terminal interaction with the test
operator. Whenever security testing requires terminal interaction, test automation becomes a
challenging objective.

Different approaches to test automation are possible. First, test designers may want to separate
test procedures requiring terminal interaction (which are not usually automated), from those that
do not require terminal interaction (which are readily amenable to automation). In this approach,
the minimization of the number of test procedures that require terminal interaction is recommended.

Second, when test procedures requiring human-operator interaction cannot be avoided, test
designers may want to connect a workstation to a terminal line and simulate the terminal activity
of a human test operator on the workstation. This enables the complete automation of the test
environment initialization and execution procedures, but not necessarily of the result identification
and analysis procedure. This approach has been used in the testing of the Secure XenixTM  TCB.
The commands issued by the test workstation that simulates the human-operator commands are
illustrated in the appendix of reference [9].

Third, the expected outcome of each test should be represented in the same format as that assumed
by the output of the TCB under test and should be placed in files of the workstation simulating a
human test operator. The comparison between the outcome files and the test result files (transferred
to the workstation upon test completion) can be performed using simple tools for file comparisons
available in most current operating systems. The formatting of the outcome files in a way that allows
their direct comparison with the test program output is a complex process. In practice, the order of
the outcomes is determined only at the time the test programs are written, and sometimes only at
execution time. Automated analysis of test results is seldomly done for this reason. To aid analysis
of test results by human operators, the test result outputs can label and time-stamp each test.
Intervention by a human test operator is also necessary in any case of mismatches between obtained
test results and expected outcomes.

An approach to automating security testing using Prolog is presented in reference [20].


All approaches to security functional testing require the following four major steps: (1) the
development of test plans (i.e., test conditions, test data including test outcomes, and test coverage
analysis) and execution for each TCB primitive, (2) the definition of test procedures, (3) the
development of test programs, and (4) the analysis of the test results. These steps are not independent
of each other in all methods. Depending upon how these steps are performed in the context of
security testing, three approaches can be identified: the monolithic (black-box) testing approach,
the functional-synthesis (white-box) testing approach, and a combination of the two approaches
called the gray-box testing approach.

In all approaches, the functions to be tested are the security-relevant functions of each TCB
primitive that are visible to the TCB interface. The definition of these security functions is given by:

Classes C1 and C2. System documentation defining a system protection philosophy,
mechanisms, and system interface operations (e.g., system calls).

Class B1. Informal interpretation of the (informal) security model and the system

Classes b2 and B3. Descriptive Top-Level Specifications (DTLSs) of the TCB and by
the interpretation of the security model that is supposed to be implemented by the TCB

Class A1. Formal Top-Level Specifications (FTLSs) of the TCB and by the interpretation
of the security model that is supposed to be implemented by the TCB functions.

Thus, a definition of the correct security function exists for each TCB primitive of a system
designed for a given security class. In TCB testing, major distinctions between the approaches
discussed in the previous section appear in the areas of test plan generation (i.e., test condition, test
data, and test coverage analysis). Further distinctions appear in the ability to eliminate redundant
TCB-primitive tests without loss of coverage. This is important for TCB testing because a large
number of access checks and access check sequences performed by TCB kernels are shared between
different kernel primitives.

3.3.1 Monolithic (Black-Box) Testing

The application of the monolithic testing approach to TCBs and to trusted processes is outlined
in reference [2]. The salient features of this approach to TCB testing are the following: (1) the test
condition selection is based on the TCSEC requirements and include discretionary and mandatory
security, object reuse, labeling, accountability, and TCB isolation; (2) the test conditions for each
TCB primitive should be generated from the chosen interpretation of each security function and
primitive as defined above (for each security class). Very seldom is the relationship between the
model interpretation and the generated test conditions, data, and programs shown explicitly (3 and
4]. Without such a relationship, it is difficult to argue coherently that all relevant security features
of the given system are covered.

The test data selection must ensure test environment independence for unrelated tests or groups
of tests (e.g., discretionary vs. mandatory tests). Environment independence requires, for example,
that the subjects, objects, and access privileges used in unrelated tests or groups of tests must differ
in all other tests or group of tests.

The test coverage analysis, which usually determines the extent of the testing for any TCB
primitive, is used to delimit the number of test sets and programs. In the monolithic approach, the
test data is usually chosen by boundary-value analysis. The test data places the test program directly
above, or below, the extremes of a set of equivalent inputs and outputs. For example, a boundary is
tested in the case of the "read" TCB call to a file by showing that (1) whenever a user has the read
privilege for that file, the read TCB call succeeds; and (2) whenever the read privilege for that file
is revoked, or whenever the file does not exist, the read TCB call fails. Similarly, a boundary is
tested in the case of TCB-call parameter validation by showing that a TCB call with parameters
passed by reference (1) succeeds whenever the reference points to an object in the caller's address
space, and (2) fails whenever the reference points to an object in another address space (e.g., kernel
space or other user spaces).

To test an individual boundary condition, all other related boundary conditions must be satisfied.
For example, in the case of the "read" primitive above, the test call must not try to read beyond the
limit of a file since the success/failure of not reading/reading beyond this limit represents a different,
albeit related, boundary condition. The number of individual boundary tests for N related boundary
conditions is of the order 2N (since both successes and failures must be tested for each of the N
conditions). Some examples of boundary-value analysis are provided in [2] for security testing, and
in [5] and [6] for security-unrelated functional testing.

The monolithic testing approach has a number of practical advantages. It can always be used by
both implementors and users (evaluators) of TCBs. No specific knowledge of implementation details
is required because there is no requirement to break the TCB (e.g., kernel) isolation or to circumvent
the TCB protection mechanism (to read, modify, or add to TCB code). Consequently, no special
tools for performing monolithic testing are required. This is particularly useful in processor
hardware testing when only descriptions of hardware/firmware implemented instructions, but no
internal hardware/firmware design documents, are available.

The disadvantages of the monolithic approach are apparent. First, it is difficult to provide a precise
coverage assessment for a set of TCB-primitive tests, even though the test selection may cover the
entire set of security features of the system. However, no coverage technique other than boundary-
value analysis can be more adequate without TCB code analysis. Second, the elimination of
redundant TCB-primitive tests without loss of coverage is possible only to a limited extent; i.e., in
the case of access-check dependencies (discussed below) among TCB-primitive specifications.
Third, in the context of TCB testing, the monolithic approach cannot cope with the problem of
cyclic dependencies among test programs. Fourth, lack of TC code analysis precludes the possibility
of distinguishing between design and implementation code errors in all but a few special cases.
Also, it precludes the discovery of spurious code within the TCB-a necessary condition for Trojan
Horse analysis.

In spite of these disadvantages, monolithic functional testing can be applied successfully to TCB
primitives that implement simple security checks and share few of these checks (i.e., few or no
redundant tests would exist). For example, many trusted processes have these characteristics, and
thus this approach is adequate.

3.3.2 Functional-Synthesis (White-Box) Testing

Functional-synthesis-based testing requires the test of both functions implemented by each
program (e.g., program of a TCB primitive) as a whole and functions implemented by internal parts
of the program. The internal program parts correspond to the functional ideas used in building the
program. Different forms of testing procedures are used depending upon different kinds of
functional synthesis (e.g., control, algebraic, conditional, and iterative synthesis described in [1]
and [7]). As pointed out in [9], only the control synthesis approach to functional testing is suitable
for security testing.

In control synthesis, functions are represented as sequences of other functions. Each function in
a sequence transforms an input state into an output state, which may be the input to another function.
Thus, a control synthesis graph is developed during program development and integration with
nodes representing data states and arcs representing state transition functions. The data states are
defined by the variables used in the program and represent the input to the state transition functions.
The assignment of program functions, procedures, and subroutines to the state transition functions
of the graph is usually left to the individual programmer's judgment. Examples of how the control
synthesis graphs are built during the program development and integration phase are given in [1]
and [7].

The suitability of the control synthesis approach to TCB testing becomes apparent when one
identifies the nodes of the control synthesis graph with the access checks within the TCB and the
arcs with data states and outcomes of previous access checks. This representation, which is the dual
of the traditional control synthesis graphs [9], produces a kernel access-check graph (ACG). This
representation is useful because in TCB testing the primary access-check concerns are those of (1)
missing checks within a sequence of required checks, (2) wrong sequences of checks, and (3) faulty
or incomplete access checks. (Many of the security problems identified in the Multics kernel design
project existed because of these broad categories of inadequate access checks [8].) It is more suitable
than the traditional control-synthesis graph because major portions of a TCB, namely the kernel,
have comparatively few distinct access checks (and access-check sequences) and a large number
of object types and access privileges that have the same access-check sequences for different TCB
primitives [9]. (However, this approach is less advantageous in trusted process testing because
trusted processes-unlike kernels-have many different access checks and few shared access
sequences.) These objects cause the same data flow between access check functions and, therefore,
are combined as graph arcs.

The above representation of the control synthesis graph has the advantage of allowing the
reduction of the graph to the subset of kernel functions that are relevant to security testing. In
contrast, a traditional graph would include (1) a large number of other functions (and, therefore,
graph arcs), and (2) a large number of data states (and, therefore, graph nodes). This would be both
inadequate and unnecessary. It would be inadequate because the presence of a large number of
security-irrelevant functions (e.g., functions unrelated to security or accountability checks or to
protection mechanisms) would obscure the role of the security-relevant ones, making test coverage
analysis a complex and difficult task. It would be unnecessary because not only could security-
irrelevant functions be eliminated from the graph but also the flows of different object types into
the same access check function could be combined, making most object type-based security tests

Any TCB-primitive program can be synthesized at the time of TCB implementations as a graph
of access-checking functions and data flow arcs. Many of the TCB-primitive programs share both
arcs and nodes of the TCB graph. To build an access-check graph, one must identify all access-
check functions, their inputs and outputs, and their sequencing. A typical input to an access-check
function consists of an object identifier, object type and required access privileges. The output
consists of the input to the next function (as defined above) and, in most cases, the outcome of the
function check. The sequencing information for access-check functions consists of (1) the ordering
of these functions, and (2) the number of arc traversals for each arc. An example of this is the
sequencing of some access check functions that depend on the object types.

Test condition selection in the control-synthesis approach can be performed so that all the above
access check concerns are satisfied. For example, test conditions must identify missing discretionary,
mandatory, object reuse, privilege-call, and parameter validation checks (or parts of those checks).
It also must identify access checks that are out of order, and faulty or incomplete checks, such as
being able to truncate a file for which the modify privilege does not exist. The test conditions must
also be based on the security model interpretation to the same extent as that in the monolithic

The test coverage in this approach also refers to the delimitation of the test data and programs
for each TCB primitive. Because many of the access-check functions, and sequences of functions,
are common to many of the kernel primitives (but not necessarily to trusted-process primitives), the
synthesized kernel (TCB) graph is fairly small. Despite this the coverage analysis cannot rely on
individual arc testing for covering the graph. The reason is that arc testing does not force the testing
of access checks that correspond to combinations of arcs and thus it does not force coverage of all
relevant sequences of security tests. Newer test coverage techniques for control synthesis graphs,
such as data-flow testing [9, 10, and 11] provide coverage of arc combinations and thus are more
appropriate than those using individual arc testing.

The properties of the functional-synthesis approach to TCB testing appear to be orthogonal to
those of monolithic testing. Consider the disadvantages of functional-synthesis testing. It is not as
readily usable as monolithic testing because of the lack of detailed knowledge of system internals.
Also, it helps remove very few redundant tests whenever few access check sequences are shared
by TCB primitives (as is the case with most trusted-process primitives).

Functional-synthesis-based testing, however, has a number of fundamental advantages. First, the
coverage based on knowledge of internal program structure (i.e., code structure of a kernel primitive)
can be more extensive than in the monolithic approach [1 and 7]. A fairly precise assessment of
coverage can be made, and most of the redundant tests can be identified. Second, one can distinguish
between TCB-primitive program failures and TCB-primitive design failures, something nearly
impossible with monolithic testing. Third, this approach can help remove cyclic test dependencies.
By removing all, or a large number of redundant tests, one removes most cyclic test dependencies
(example of Section 3.7.5).

TCB code analysis becomes necessary whenever a graph synthesis is done after a TCB is built.
Such analysis helps identify spurious control paths and code within a TCB-a necessary condition
for Trojan Horse discovery. (In such a case, a better term for this approach would be functional-
analysis-based testing.)

3.3.3 Gray-Box Testing

Two of the principal goals of security testing have been (1) the elimination of redundant tests
through systematic test-condition selection and coverage analysis, and (2) the elimination of cyclic
dependencies between the test programs. Other goals, such as test repeatability, which is also
considered important, can be attained through the same means as those used for the other methods.

The elimination of redundant TCB-primitive tests is a worthwhile goal for the obvious reason
that it reduces the amount of testing effort without loss of coverage. This allows one to determine
a smaller nucleus of tests that must be carried out extensively. The overall TCB assurance may
increase due to the judicious distribution of the test effort. The elimination of cyclic dependencies
among the TCB-primitive test programs is also a necessary goal because it helps establish a rigorous
test order without making circular assumptions of the behavior of the TCB primitives. Added
assurance is therefore gained.

To achieve the above goals, the gray-box testing approach combines monolithic testing with
functional-synthesis-based testing in the test selection and coverage areas. This combination relies
on the elimination of redundant tests through access-check dependency analysis afforded by
monolithic testing. It also relies on the synthesis of the access-check graph from the TCB code as
suggested by functional-synthesis-based testing (used for further elimination of redundant tests).
The combination of these two testing methods generates a TCB-primitive test order that requires
increasingly fewer test conditions and data without loss of coverage.

A significant number of test conditions and associated tests can be eliminated by the use of the
access-check graph of TCB kernels. Recall that each kernel primitive may have a different access-
check graph in principle. In practice, however, substantial parts of the graphs overlap. Consequently,
if one of the graph paths is tested with sufficient coverage for a kernel primitive, then test conditions
generated for a different kernel primitive whose graph overlaps with the first need only include the
access checks specific to the latter kernel primitive. This is true because by the definition of the
access-check graph, the commonality of paths means that the same access checks are performed in
the same sequence, on the same types of objects and privileges, and with the same outcomes (e.g.,
success and failure returns). The specific access checks of a kernel primitive, however, must also
show that the untested subpath(s) that has not been tested, of that kernel primitive, joins the tested

(A subset of the access-check and access-graph dependencies for the access, open, read, write,
fcntl, ioctl, opensem, waltsem and slgsem primitives of UnixTM-like kernels are illustrated in
Figures 1 and 2, pages 23 and 24. The use of these dependencies in the development of test plans,
especially in coverage analysis, is illustrated in Sections and; namely, in the test
plans for access, open, and read. Note that the arcs shown in Figure 2, page 24 include neither
complete flow-of-control information nor complete sets of object types, access-checks per call, and
call outcome.)


The TCSEC security testing requirements and guidelines (i.e., Part 1 and Section 10 of the TCSEC)
help define different approaches for security testing. They are particularly useful for test condition
generation and test coverage. This section reviews these requirements in light of security testing
approaches defined in Section 3.3.

Security Class C1

Test Condition Generation

"The security mechanisms of the ADP system shall be tested and found to work as claimed
in the system documentation." [TCSEC Part I, Section 2.1]

For this class of systems, the test conditions should be generated from the system documentation
which includes the Security Features User's Guide (SFUG), the Trusted Facility Manual (TFM),
the system reference manual describing each TCB primitive, and the design documentation defining
the protection philosophy and its TCB implementation. Both the SFUG and the manual pages, for
example, illustrate how the identification and authentication mechanisms work and whether a
particular TCB primitive contains relevant security and accountability mechanisms. The
Discretionary Access Control (DAC) and the identification and authentication conditions enforced
by each primitive (if any) are used to define the test conditions of the test plans.

Test Coverage

"Testing shall be done to assure that there are no obvious ways for an unauthorized user
to bypass or otherwise defeat the security protection mechanisms of the TCB." [TCSEC,
Part I, Section 2.1]

"The team shall independently design and implement at least five system-specific tests
in an attempt to circumvent the security mechanisms of the system." [TCSEC, Part II,
Section 10]

The above TCSEC requirements and guidelines define the scope of security testing for this
security class. Since each TCB primitive may include security-relevant mechanisms, security testing
shall include at least five test conditions for each primitive. Furthermore, because source code
analysis is neither required nor suggested for class C1 systems, monolithic functional testing (i.e.,
a black-box approach) with boundary-value coverage represents an adequate testing approach for
this class. Boundary-value coverage of each test condition requires that at least two calls of each
TCB primitive be made, one for the positive and one for the negative outcome of the condition.
Such coverage may also require more than two calls per condition. Whenever a TCB primitive refers
to multiple types of objects, each condition is repeated for each relevant type of object for both its
positive and negative outcomes. A large number of test calls may be necessary for each TCB
primitive because each test condition may in fact have multiple related conditions which should be
tested independently of each other.

Security Class C2

Test Condition Generation

"Testing shall also include a search for obvious flaws that would allow violation of
resource isolation, or that would permit unauthorized access to the audit and
authentication data." [TCSEC, Part I, Section 2.2]

These added requirements refer only to new sources of test conditions, but not to a new testing
approach nor to new coverage methods. The following new sources of test conditions should be

(1) Resource isolation conditions. These test conditions refer to all TCB primitives that
implement specific system resources (e.g., object types or system services). Test
conditions for TCB primitives implementing services may differ from those for TCB
primitives implementing different types of objects. Thus, new conditions may need to be
generated for TCB services. The mere repetition of test conditions defined for other TCB
primitives may not be adequate for some services.

(2) Conditions for protection of audit and authentication data. Because both audit and
authentication mechanisms and data are protected by the TCB, the test conditions for the
protection of these mechanisms and their data are similar to those which show that the
TCB protection mechanisms are tamperproof and noncircumventable. For example, these
conditions show that neither privileged TCB primitives nor audit and user authentication
files are accessible to regular users.

Test Coverage

Although class C1 test coverage already suggests that each test condition be covered for each
type of object, coverage of resource-specific test conditions also requires that each test condition
be covered for each type of service (whenever the test condition is relevant to a service). For example,
the test conditions which show that direct access to a shared printer is denied to a user shall be
repeated for a shared tape drive with appropriate modification of test data (i.e., test environments
set up, test parameters and outcomes-namely, the test plan structure discussed in Section 3.5).

Security Class B1

Test Condition Generation

The objectives of security testing ". . . shall be: to uncover all design and implementation
flaws that would permit a subject external to the TCB to read, change, or delete data
normally denied under the mandatory or discretionary security policy enforced by the
TCB; as well as to ensure that no subject (without authorization to do so) is able to cause
the TCB to enter a state such that it is unable to respond to communications initiated by
other users." [TCSEC, Part I, Section 3.1]

The security testing requirements of class B1 are more extensive than those of both classes C1
and C2, both in test condition generation and in coverage analysis. The source of test conditions
referring to users' access to data includes the mandatory and discretionary policies implemented
by the TCB. These policies are defined by an (informal) policy model whose interpretation within
the TCB allows the derivation of test conditions for each TCB primitive. Although not explicitly
stated in the TCSEC, it is generally expected that all relevant test conditions for classes C1 and C2
also would be used for a class B1 system.

Test Coverage

"All discovered flaws shall be removed or neutralized and the TCB retested to demonstrate
that they have been eliminated and that new flaws have not been introduced." [TCSEC,
Part I, Section 3.1]

"The team shall independently design and implement at least fifteen system specific tests
in an attempt to circumvent the security mechanisms of the system." [TCSEC, Part II,
Section 10]

Although the coverage analysis is still boundary-value analysis, security testing for class B1
systems suggests that at least fifteen test conditions be generated for each TCB primitive that
contains security-relevant mechanisms to cover both mandatory and discretionary policy. In
practice, however, a substantially higher number of test conditions is generated from interpretations
of the (informal) security model. The removal or the neutralization of found errors and the retesting
of the TCB requires no additional types of coverage analysis.

Security Class B2

Test Condition Generation

"Testing shall demonstrate that the TCB implementation is consistent with the descriptive
top-level specification." [TCSEC, Part I, Section 3.2]

The above requirement implies that both the test conditions and coverage analysis of class B2
systems are more extensive than those of class B1. In class B2 systems every access control and
accountability mechanism documented in the DTLS (which must be complete as well as accurate)
represents a source of test conditions. In principle the same types of test conditions would be
generated for class B2 systems as for class B1 systems, because (1) in both classes the test conditions
could be generated from interpretations of the security policy model (informal at B1 and formal at
B2), and (2) in class B2 the DTLS includes precisely the interpretation of the security policy model.
In practice this is not the case however, because security policy models do not model a substantial
number of mechanisms that are, nevertheless, included in the DTLS of class B2 systems. (Recall
that class B1 systems do not require a DTLS of the TCB interface.) The number and type of test
conditions can therefore be substantially higher in a class B2 system than those in a class B1 system
because the DTLS for each TCB primitive may contain additional types of mechanisms, such as
those for trusted facility management.

Test Coverage

It is not unusual to have a few individual test conditions for at least some of the TCB primitives.
As suggested in the gray-box approach defined in the previous section, repeating these conditions
for many of the TCB primitives to achieve uniform coverage can be both impractical and
unnecessary. Particularly this is true when these primitives refer to the same object types and
services. It is for this reason and because source-code analysis is required in class B2 systems to
satisfy other requirements that the use of the gray-box testing approach is recommended for the
parts of the TCB in which primitives share a substantial portion of their code. Note that the DTLS
of any system does not necessarily provide any test conditions for demonstrating the
tamperproofness and noncircumventability of the TCB. Such conditions should be generated

Security Class 83

Test Condition Generation

The only difference between classes B2 and B3 requirements of security testing reflects the need
to discover virtually all security policy flaws before the evaluation team conducts its security testing
exercise. Thus, no additional test condition requirements appear for class B3 testing. Note that the
DTLS does not necessarily provide any test conditions for demonstrating the TCB is tamperproof
and noncircumventable as with class B2 systems. Such conditions should be generated separately.

Test Coverage

"No design flaws and no more than a few correctable implementation flaws may be found
during testing and there shall be reasonable confidence that few remain." [TCSEC, Part
I, Section 3.3]

The above requirement suggests that a higher degree of confidence in coverage analysis is required
for class B3 systems than for class B2 systems. It is for this reason that it is recommended the gray-
box testing approach be used extensively for the entire TCB kernel, and data-flow coverage be used
for all independent primitives of the kernel (namely, the gray-box method in Section 3.3 above).

Security Class A1

The only differences between security testing requirements of classes B3 and A1 are (1) the test
conditions shall be derived from the FTLS, and (2) the coverage analysis should include at least
twenty-five test conditions for each TCB primitive implementing security functions. Neither
requirement suggests that a different testing method than that recommended for class B3 systems
is required.


This section discusses the structure of typical test plans, test logs, test programs, test procedures,
and test reports. The description of the test procedures necessary to run the tests and to examine
the test results is also addressed. The documentation structures presented are meant to provide the
system developers with examples of good test documentation.

3.5.1 Overview

The work plan for system testing should describe how security testing will be conducted and
should contain the following information:

·       Test-system configuration for both hardware and software.

·       Summary test requirements.

·       Procedures for executing test cases.

·       Step-by-step procedures for each test case.

·       Expected results for each test step.

·       Procedures for correcting flaws uncovered during testing.

·       Expected audit information generated by each test case (if any).

See Section 3.7.7, "Relationship with the TCSEC Requirements."

3.5.2 Test Plan

Analysis and testing of mechanisms, assurances and/or documentation to support the TCSEC
security testing requirements are accomplished through test plans. The test plans should be
sufficiently complete to cover each identified security mechanism and should be conducted with
sufficient depth to provide reasonable assurance that any bugs not found lie within the acceptable
risk threshold for the class of the system being evaluated. A test plan consists of test conditions,
test data, and coverage analysis. Test Conditions

A test condition is a statement of a security-relevant constraint that must be satisfied by a TCB
primitive. Test conditions should be derived from the system's DTLS/FTLS, from the interpretation
of the security and accountability models (if any), from TCB isolation and noncircumventability
properties, and from the specifications and implementation of the individual TCB primitive under
test. If neither DTLS/FTLS nor models are required, then test conditions should be derived from
the informal policy statements, protection philosophy and resource isolation requirements.

(1) Generation of Model or Policy-Relevant Test Conditions

This step suggests that a matrix of TCB primitives and the security model(s) or requirement
components be built. Each entry in the matrix identifies the security relevance of each primitive (if
any) in a security model or requirement area and the relevant test conditions. For example, in the
mandatory access control area of security policy, one should test the proper object labeling by the
TCB, the "compatibility" property of the user created objects, and the TCB implemented
authorization rules for subject access to objects. One should also test that the security-level
relationships are properly maintained by the TCB and that the mandatory access works
independently of, and in conjunction with, the discretionary access control mechanism. In the
discretionary access control area, one may include tests for proper user/group identifier selection,
proper user inclusion/exclusion, selective access distribution/revocation using the access control
list (ACL) mechanism, and access review.

Test conditions derived from TCB isolation and noncircumventability properties include
conditions that verify (1) that TCB data structures are inaccessible to user level programs, (2) that
transfer of control to the TCB can take place only at specified entry points, which cannot be bypassed
by user-level programs, (3) that privileged entry points into the TCB cannot be used by user level
programs, and (4) that parameters passed by reference to the TCB are validated.

Test conditions derived from accountability policy include conditions that verify that user
identification and authentication mechanisms operate properly. For example, they include
conditions that verify that only sufficiently complex passwords can be chosen by any user, that the
password aging mechanism forces reuse at stated intervals, and so on. Other conditions of
identification and authentication, such as those that verify that the user login level is dominated by
the user's maximum security level, should also be included. Furthermore, conditions that verify
that the user commands included in the trusted path mechanism are unavailable to the user program
interface of the TCB should be used. Accountability test conditions that verify the correct operation
of the audit mechanisms should also be generated and used in security testing.

The security relevance of a TCB primitive can only be determined from the security policy,
accountability, and TCB isolation and noncircumventability requirements for classes B1 to A1, or
from protection philosophy and resource isolation requirements for classes C1 and C2. Some TCB
primitives are security irrelevant. For example, TCB primitives that never allow the flow of
information across the boundaries of an accessible object are always security irrelevant and need
not be tested with respect to the security or accountability policies. The limitation of information
flow to user-accessible objects by the TCB primitives implementation, however, needs to be tested
by TCB-primitive-specific tests. A general example of security-irrelevant TCB primitives is
provided by those primitives which merely retrieve the status of user-owned processes at the security
level of the user.

(2) Generation of TCB-Primitive-Specific Test Conditions

The selection of test conditions used in security testing should be TCB-primitive-specific. This
helps remove redundant test conditions and, at the same time, helps ensure that significant test
coverage is obtained. For example, the analysis of TCB-primitive specifications to determine their
access-check dependencies is required whenever the removal of redundant TCB-primitive tests is
considered important. This analysis can be applied to all testing approaches. The specification of a
TCB primitive A is access-check dependent on the specification of a TCB primitive B if a subset
of the access checks needed in TCB primitive A are performed in TCB primitive B, and if a TCB
call to primitive B always precedes a TCB call to primitive A (i.e., a call to TCB primitive A fails
if the call to TCB primitive B has not been done or has not completed with a successful outcome).
In case of such dependencies, it is sufficient to test TCB primitive B first and then to test only the
access checks of TCB primitive A that are not performed in TCB primitive B. Of course, the
existence of the access-check dependency must be verified through testing.

As an example of access-check dependency, consider the fork and the exit primitives of the
Secure XenixTM kernel. The exit primitive always terminates a process and sends a return code to
the parent process. The mandatory access check that needs to be tested in exit is that the child's
process security level equals that of the parent's process. However, the specifications of the exit
primitive are access-check dependent on the specifications of the fork primitive (1) because an exit
call succeeds only after a successfully completed fork call is done by some parent process, and (2)
because the access check, that the child's process level always equals that of the parent's process
level, is already performed during the fork call. In this case, no additional mandatory access test is
needed for exit beyond that performed for fork. Similarly, the sigsem and the waitsem primitives
of some UnixTM based kernels are access-check dependent on the opensem primitive, and no
additional mandatory or discretionary access checks are necessary.

However, in the case of the read and the write primitives of UnixTM kernels, the specifications
of which are also access-check dependent on both the mandatory and the discretionary checks of
the open primitive, additional tests are necessary beyond those done for open. In the case of the
read primitive one needs to test that files could only be read if they have been opened for reading,
and that reading beyond the end of a file is impossible after one tests the dependency of read on
the specification of open. Additional tests are also needed for other primitives such as fcntl and
loctl; their specifications are both mandatory and discretionary access-check dependent on the open
primitives for files and devices. Note that in all of the above examples a large number of test
conditions and associated tests are eliminated by using the notion of access check dependency of
specifications because, in general, less test conditions are generated for access check dependency
testing than for the security testing of the primitive itself.

The following examples are given in references [3] and [4]: (1) of the generation of such
constraints from security models, (2) of the predicates, variables, and object types used in constraint
definition, and (3) of the use of such constraints in test conditions for processor instructions (rather
than for TCB primitives).

See Section 3.7.7, "Relationship with the TCSEC Requirements." Test Data

"Test data" is defined as the set of specific objects and variables that must be used to demonstrate
that a test condition is satisfied by a TCB primitive. The test data consist of the definition of the
initialization data for the test environment, the test parameters for each TCB primitive, and the
expected test outcomes. Test data generation is as important as test condition generation because it
ensures that test conditions are exercised with appropriate coverage in the test programs, and that
test environment independence is established whenever it is needed.

To understand the importance of test data generation consider the following example. Suppose
that all mandatory tests must ensure that the "hierarchy" requirement of the mandatory policy
interpretation must be tested for each TCB primitive. (Expansion on this subject, i.e., the
nondecreasing security level requirement for the directory hierarchy can be found in [12].) What
directory hierarchy should one set up for testing this requirement and at the same time argue that
all possible directory hierarchies are covered for all tests? A simple analysis of this case shows that
there are two different forms of upgraded directory creation that constitute an independent basis
for all directory hierarchies (i.e., all hierarchies can be constructed by the operations used for one
or the other of the two forms, or by combinations of these operations). The first form is illustrated
in Figure 3a representing the case whereby each upgraded directory at a different level is upgraded
from a single lower level (e.g., system low). The second form is illustrated in Figure 3b and
represents the case whereby each directory at a certain level is upgraded from an immediately lower
level. A similar example can be constructed to show that combinations of security level definitions
used for mandatory policy testing cover all security level relationships.

Test data for TCB primitives should include several items such as the TCB primitive input data,
TCB primitive return result and success/failure code, object hierarchy definition, security level used
for each process/object, access privileges used, user identifiers, object types, and so on. This
selection needs to be made on a test-by-test basis and on a primitive-by-primitive basis. Whenever
environment independence is required, a different set of data is defined [2]. It is very helpful that
the naming scheme used for each data object helps identify the test that used that item. Different
test environments can be easily identified in this way. Note that the test data selection should ensure
both coverage of model-relevant test conditions and coverage of the individual TCB primitives.
This will be illustrated in an example in the next section.

See Section 3.7.7, "Relationship with the TCSEC Requirements." Coverage Analysis

Test coverage analysis is performed in conjunction with the test selection phase of our approach.
Two classes of coverage analysis should be performed: model- or policy-dependent coverage and
individual TCB primitive coverage.

(1) Model- or Policy-Dependent Coverage

In this class, one should demonstrate that the selected test conditions and data cover the
interpretation of the security and accountability model and noncircumventability properties in all
areas identified by the matrix mentioned above. This is a comparatively simple task because model
coverage considerations drive the test condition and data selection. This kind of coverage includes
object type, object hierarchy, subject identification, access privilege, subject/object security level,
authorization check coverage, and so on. Model dependent coverage analysis relies, in general, on
boundary-value analysis.

(2) Individual TCB-Primitives Coverage

This kind of coverage includes boundary value analysis, data flow analysis of individual access-
check graphs of TCB primitives, and coverage of dependencies. The examples of reference [2]
illustrate boundary-value analysis. Other forms of TCB-primitive coverage will be discussed in
Section 3.7 of this guideline. For example, graph coverage analysis represents the determination
that the test conditions and data exercise all the data flows for each TCB-primitive graph. This
includes not only the traversal of all the graph access checks (i.e., nodes) but also of all the graph's
arcs and arc sequences required for each TCB primitive. (The example for access primitive of
UnixTM kernels included in Section 3.7 explains this form of coverage. Data flow coverage is also
presented in [10] and [11] for security-unrelated test examples.)

Coverage analysis is both a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the extent to which the test
shows TCB-primitive compliance with the (1) design documentation, (2) resource isolation, (3)
audit and authentication data protection, (4) security policy and accountability model conditions,
(5) DTLS/FTLS, as well as with those of the TCB isolation and noncircumventability properties.
To achieve significant coverage, all security-relevant conditions derived from a TCB model and
properties and DTLS/FTLS should be covered by a test, and each TCB-primitive test should cover
the implementation of its TCB primitive. For example, each TCB- primitive test should be performed
for all independent object types operated upon by that TCB primitive and should test all independent
security exceptions for each type of object.

See Section 3.7.7, "Relationship with the TCSEC Requirements."

3.5.3 Test Procedures

A key step in any test system is the generation of the test procedures (which are also known as
"test scripts"). The major function of the test procedure is to ensure that an independent test operator
or user is able to carry out the test and to obtain the same results as the test implementor. The
procedure for each test should be explained in sufficient detail to enable repeatable testing. The test
procedure should contain the following items to accomplish this:

(1) Environment Initialization Procedure. This procedure defines the login sequences and
parameters, the commands for object and subject cleanup operations at all levels involved in the
test, the choice of object names, the commands and parameters for object creation and initialization
at the required levels, the required order of command execution, the initialization at the required
levels, the initialization of different subject identifiers and access privileges (for the initialized
objects) at all required levels, and the specification of the test program and command names and
parameters used in the current test.

(2) Test Execution Procedure. The test procedure includes a description of the test execution from
a terminal including the list of user commands, their input, and the expected terminal, printer, or
file output.

(3) Result Identification Procedure. The test procedure should also identify the results file for a
given test, or the criteria the test operator must use to find the results of each individual test in the
test output file. The meaning of the results should also be provided.

See Section 3.7.7, "Relationship with the TCSEC Requirements."

Note: A system in which testing is fully automated eliminates the need for separate test procedure
documentation. In such cases, the environment initialization procedures and the test execution
procedures should be documented in the test data section of the test plans. Automated test operator
programs include the built-in knowledge otherwise contained in test procedures.

3.5.4 Test Programs

Another key step of any test system is the generation of the test programs. The test programs for
each TCB primitive consist of the Iogin sequence, password, and requested security level. The
security profile of the test operator and of the possible workstation needs to be defined a priori by
the system security administrators to allow logins and environment initialization at levels required
in the test plan. After login, a test program invokes several trusted processes (e.g., "mkdir," "rmdir,"
in some UnixYM systems) with predetermined parameters in the test plan and procedure to initialize
the test environment. A nucleus of trusted processes, necessary for the environment set up, are tested
independently of a TCB primitive under test whenever possible and are assumed to be correct.

After the test environment is initialized, the test program (which may require multiple logins at
different levels) issues multiple invocations to the TCB primitive under test and to other TCB
primitives needed for the current test. The output of each primitive issued by the test programs is
collected in a result file associated with each separate test and analyzed. The analysis of the test
results that are collected in the results file is performed by the test operator. This analysis is a
comparison between the results file and the expected outcome file defined by the test plan prior to
the test run. Whenever the test operator detects a discrepancy between the two files he records a
test error.

3.5.5 Test Log

A test log should be maintained by each team member during security testing. It is to capture
useful information to be included later in the test report. The test log should contain:

·       Information on any noteworthy observations.

·       Modifications to the test steps.

·       Documentation errors.

·       Other useful data recorded during the testing procedure test results.

3.5.6 Test Report

The test report is to present the results of the security testing in a manner that effectively supports
the conclusions reached from the security testing process and provides a basis for NCSC test team
security testing. The test report should contain:

·       Information on the configuration of the tested system.

·       A chronology of the security testing effort.

·       The results of functional testing including a discussion of each flaw uncovered.

·       The results of penetration testing covering the results of successful penetrations.

·       Discussion of the corrections that were implemented and of any retesting that was

A sample test report format is provided in Section 3.7.


The processors of a computer system include the Central Processing Units (CPU), Input/Output
(I/O) processors, and application-oriented co-processors such as numerical co-processors and
signal-analysis co-processors. These processors may include mechanisms capabilities, access
privileges, processor-status registers, and memory areas representing TCB internal objects such as
process control blocks, descriptor, and page tables. The effects of the processor protection
mechanisms become visible to the system users through the execution of processor instructions and
I/O commands that produce transformations of processor and memory registers. Transformations
produced by every instruction or I/O command are checked by the processors protection
mechanisms and are allowed only if they conform with the specifications defined by the processor
reference manuals for that instruction. For few processors these transformations are specified
formally and for less processors a formal (or informal) model of the protection mechanisms is given
[3 and 4].

3.6.1 The Need for Hardware/Firmware Security Testing

Protection mechanisms of systems processors provide the basic support for TCB isolation,
noncircumventability, and process address space separation. In general, processor mechanisms for
the isolation of the TCB include those that (1) help separate the TCB address space and privileges
from those of the user, (2) help enforce the transfer of control from the user address space to the
TCB address space at specific entry points, and (3) help verify the validity of the user-level
parameters passed to the TCB during primitive invocation. Processor mechanisms that support TCB
noncircumventability include those that (1) check each object reference against a specific set of
privileges, and (2) ensure that privileged instructions which can circumvent some of the protection
mechanisms are inaccessible to the user. Protection mechanisms that help separate process address
spaces include those using base and relocation registers, paging, segmentation, and combinations

The primary reason for testing the security function of a system's processors is that flaws in the
design and implementation of processor-supported protection mechanisms become visible at the
user level through the instruction set. This makes the entire system vulnerable because users can
issue carefully constructed sequences of instructions that would compromise TCB and user security.

(User visibility of protection flaws in processor designs is particularly difficult to deny. Attempts
to force programmers to use only high-level languages, such as PL1, Pascal, Algol, etc., which
would obscure the processor instruction set, are counterproductive because arbitrary addressing
patterns and instruction sequences still can be constructed through seemingly valid programs (i.e.,
programs that compile correctly). In addition, exclusive reliance on language compilers and on
other subsystems for the purpose of obscuring protection flaws and denying users the ability to
produce arbitrary addressing patterns is unjustifiable. One reason is that compiler verification is a
particularly difficult task; another is that reliance on compilers and on other subsystems implies
reliance on the diverse skills and interests of system programmers. Alternatively, hardware-based
attempts to detect instruction sequence patterns that lead to protection violations would only result
in severe performance degradation.)

The additional reason for testing the security function of a system's processor is that, in general,
a system's TCB uses at least some of the processor's mechanisms to implement its security policy.
Flawed protection mechanisms may become unusable by the TCB and, in some cases, the TCB
may not be able to neutralize those flaws (e.g., make them invisible to the user). It should be noted
that the security testing of the processor protection mechanisms is the most basic life-cycle evidence
available in the context of TCSEC evaluations to support the claim that a system's reference notion
is verifiable.

3.6.2 Explicit TCSEC Requirements for Hardware Security Testing

The TCSEC imposes very few explicit requirements for the security testing of a system's hardware
and firmware protection mechanisms. Few interpretations can be derived from these requirements
as a consequence. Recommendations for processor test plan generation and documentation,
however, will be made in this guideline in addition to explicit TCSEC requirements. These
recommendations are based on analogous TCB testing recommendations made herein.

Specific Requirements for Classes C1 and C2

The following requirements are included for security classes C1 and C2:

"The security mechanisms of the ADP system shall be tested and found to work as claimed
in the system documentation."

The security mechanisms of the ADP system clearly include the processor-supported protection
mechanisms that are used by the TCB and those that are visible to the users through the processor's
instruction set. In principle it could be argued that the TCB security testing implicitly tests at least
some processor mechanisms used by the TCB; therefore, no additional hardware testing is required
for these mechanisms. All processor protection mechanisms that are visible to the user through the
instruction set shall be tested separately regardless of their use by a tested TCB. In practice, nearly
all processor protection mechanisms are visible to users through the instruction set. An exception
is provided by some of the I/O processor mechanisms in systems where users cannot execute I/O
commands either directly or indirectly.

Specific Requirements for Classes B1 to B3

In addition to the above requirements of classes C1 and C2, the TCSEC includes the following
specific hardware security testing guidelines in Section 10 "A Guideline on Security Testing":

"The [evaluation] team shall have `hands-on' involvement in an independent run of the
test package used by the system developer to test security-relevant hardware and software.

The explicit inclusion of this requirement in the division B (i.e., classes B1 to B3) of the TCSEC
guideline on security testing implies that the scope and coverage of the security-relevant hardware
testing and test documentation should be consistent with those of the TCB security testing for this
division. Thus, the security testing of the processor s protection mechanisms for division B systems
should be more extensive that for division C (i.e., C1 and C2) systems.

Specific Requirement for Class A1

In addition to the requirements for divisions C and B, the TCSEC includes the following explicit
requirements for hardware and/or firmware testing:

"Testing shall demonstrate that the TCB implementation is consistent with the formal
top-level specifications." [Security Testing requirement] and

"The DTLS and FTLS shall include those components of the TCB that are implemented
as hardware and/or firmware if their properties are visible at the TCB interface." [Design
Specification and Verification requirement]

The above requirements suggest that all processor protection mechanisms that are visible at the
TCB interface should be tested. The scope and coverage of the security-relevant testing and test
documentation should also be consistent with those of TCB security-relevant testing and test
documentation for this division.

3.6.3 Hardware Security Testing vs. System Integrity Testing

Hardware security testing and system integrity testing differ in at least three fundamental ways.
First, the scope of system integrity testing and that of hardware security testing is different. System
integrity testing refers to the functional testing of the hardware/firmware components of a system
including components that do not necessarily have a specific security function (i.e., do not include
any protection mechanisms). Such components include the memory boards, busses, displays,
adaptors for special devices, etc. Hardware security testing, in contrast, refers to hardware and
firmware components that include protection mechanisms (e.g., CPU's and I/O processors). Failures
of system components that do not include protection mechanisms may also affect system security
just as they would affect reliability and system performance. Failures of components that include
protection mechanisms can affect system security adversely. A direct consequence of the distinction
between the scope of system integrity and hardware security testing is that security testing
requirements vary with the security class of a system, whereas system integrity testing requirements
do not.

Second, the time and frequency of system integrity and security testing are different. System
integrity testing is performed periodically at the installation site of the equipment. System security
testing is performed in most cases at component design and integration time. Seldom are hardware
security test suites performed at the installation site.

Third, the responsibility for system integrity testing and hardware security testing is different.
System integrity testing is performed by site administrators and vendor customer or field engineers.
Hardware security testing is performed almost exclusively by manufacturers, vendors, and system

3.6.4 Goals, Philosophy, and Approaches to Hardware Security Testing

Hardware security testing has the same general goals and philosophy as those of general TCB
security testing. Hardware security testing should be performed for processors that operate in normal
mode (as opposed to maintenance or test mode). Special probes, instrumentation, and special
reserved op-codes in the instruction set should be unnecessary. Coverage analysis for each tested
instruction should be included in each test plan. Cyclic test dependencies should be minimized, and
testing should be repeatable and automated whenever possible.

In principle, all the approaches to security testing presented in Section 3.3 are applicable to
hardware security testing. In practice, however, all security testing approaches reported to date have
relied on the monolithic testing approach. This is the case because hardware security testing is
performed on an instruction basis (often only descriptions of the hardware/firmware-implemented,
but no internal hardware/firmware design details, are available to the test designers). The generation
of test conditions is, consequently, based on instruction and processor documentation (e.g., on
reference manuals). Models of the processor protection mechanisms and top-level specifications of
each processor instruction are seldom available despite their demonstrable usefulness [3 and 4] and
mandatory use [13, class A1] in security testing. Coverage analysis is restricted in practice to
boundary-value coverage for similar reasons.

3.6.5 Test Conditions, Data, and Coverage Analysis for Hardware Security Testing

Lack of DTLS and protection-model requirements for processors' hardware/firmware in the
TCSEC between classes C1 and B3 makes the generation of test conditions for processor security
testing a challenging task (i.e., class A1 requires that FTLS be produced for the user-visible hardware
functions and thus these FTLS represent a source of test conditions). The generation of test data is
somewhat less challenging because this activity is related to a specific coverage analysis method,
namely boundary-value coverage, which implies that the test designer should produce test data for
both positive and negative outcomes of any condition.

Lack of DTLS and of protection-model requirements for processors' hardware and firmware
makes it important to identify various classes of security test conditions for processors that illustrate
potential sources of test conditions. We partition these classes of test conditions into the following
categories: (l) processor tests that help detect violations of TCB isolation and noncircumventability,
(2) processor tests that help detect violations of policy, and (3) processor tests that help detect other
generic flaws (e.g., integrity and denial of service flaws). Test Conditions for Isolation and Noncircumventability Testing

(1) There are tests which detect flaws in instructions that violate the separation of user and TCB
(privileged) domain:

Included in this class are tests that detect flaws in bounds checking CPU and I/O processors,
top- and bottom-of-the-stack frame checking, dangling references, etc. [4]. Tests within this class
should include the checking of all addressing modes of the hardware/firmware. This includes single
and multiple-level indirect addressing [3 and 4], and direct addressing with no operands (i.e., stack
addressing), with a single operand and with multiple operands. Tests which demonstrate that all the
TCB processor, memory, and I/O registers are inaccessible to users who execute nonprivileged
instructions should also be included here.

This class also includes tests that detect instructions that do not perform or perform improper
access privilege checks. An example of this is the lack of improper access privilege checking during
multilevel indirections through memory by a single instruction. Proper page-or segment-presence
bit checks as well as the proper invalidation of descriptors within caches during process switches
should also be tested. All tests should ensure that all privilege checking is performed in all addressing
modes. Tests which check whether a user can execute privileged instructions are also included here.
Examples of such tests (and lack thereof) can be found in [3, 4, 22, and 23].

(2) There are tests that detect flaws in instructions that violate the control of transfer between

Included in this class are tests that detect flaws that allow anarchic entries to the TCB domain
(i.e., transfers to TCB arbitrary entry points and at arbitrary times), modification and/or
circumvention of entry points, and returns to the TCB which do not result from TCB calls. Tests
show that the local address space of a domain or ring is switched properly upon domain entry or
return (e.g., in a ring-based system, such as SCOMP, Intel 80286-80386, each ring stack segment
is selected properly upon a ring crossing).

(3) There are tests that detect flaws in instructions that perform parameters validation checks:

Included in this class are tests that detect improper checks of descriptor privileges, descriptor
length, or domain/ring of a descriptor (e.g., Verify Read (VERR), Verify Write (VERW), Adjust
Requested Privilege Level (ARPL), Load Access Rights (LAR), Load Segment Length (LSL) in
the Intel 80286-80386 architecture [24], Argument Addressing Mode (AAM) in Honeywell
SCOMP, [22 and 23], etc.). Text Conditions for Policy-Relevant Processor Instructions

Included in this class are tests that detect flaws that allow user-visible processor instructions to
allocate/deallocate objects in memory containing residual parts of previous objects and tests that
detect flaws that would allow user-visible instructions to transfer access privileges in a way that is
inconsistent with the security policy (e.g., ca

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