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Document
Dealing with Variability in API Misuse Specification

Authors: Rodrigo Bonifácio, Stefan Krüger, Krishna Narasimhan, Eric Bodden, and Mira Mezini

Published in: LIPIcs, Volume 194, 35th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP 2021)


Abstract
APIs are the primary mechanism for developers to gain access to externally defined services and tools. However, previous research has revealed API misuses that violate the contract of APIs to be prevalent. Such misuses can have harmful consequences, especially in the context of cryptographic libraries. Various API-misuse detectors have been proposed to address this issue - including CogniCrypt, one of the most versatile of such detectors and that uses a language (CrySL) to specify cryptographic API usage contracts. Nonetheless, existing approaches to detect API misuse had not been designed for systematic reuse, ignoring the fact that different versions of a library, different versions of a platform, and different recommendations/guidelines might introduce variability in the correct usage of an API. Yet, little is known about how such variability impacts the specification of the correct API usage. This paper investigates this question by analyzing the impact of various sources of variability on widely used Java cryptographic libraries (including JCA/JCE, Bouncy Castle, and Google Tink). The results of our investigation show that sources of variability like new versions of the API and security standards significantly impact the specifications. We then use the insights gained from our investigation to motivate an extension to the CrySL language (named MetaCrySL), which builds on meta-programming concepts. We evaluate MetaCrySL by specifying usage rules for a family of Android versions and illustrate that MetaCrySL can model all forms of variability we identified and drastically reduce the size of a family of specifications for the correct usage of cryptographic APIs.

Cite as

Rodrigo Bonifácio, Stefan Krüger, Krishna Narasimhan, Eric Bodden, and Mira Mezini. Dealing with Variability in API Misuse Specification. In 35th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 194, pp. 19:1-19:27, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


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@InProceedings{bonifacio_et_al:LIPIcs.ECOOP.2021.19,
  author =	{Bonif\'{a}cio, Rodrigo and Kr\"{u}ger, Stefan and Narasimhan, Krishna and Bodden, Eric and Mezini, Mira},
  title =	{{Dealing with Variability in API Misuse Specification}},
  booktitle =	{35th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP 2021)},
  pages =	{19:1--19:27},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-190-0},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2021},
  volume =	{194},
  editor =	{M{\o}ller, Anders and Sridharan, Manu},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ECOOP.2021.19},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-140621},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.ECOOP.2021.19},
  annote =	{Keywords: API misuse, cryptographic API misuse detection, code generation, domain engineering, cryptographic standards}
}
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