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Université du Luxembourg

1. Mai, Xuan Phu. Automated, Requirements-based Security Testing of Web-oriented Software Systems.

Degree: 2020, Université du Luxembourg

Motivation and Context. Modern Internet-based services (e.g., home-banking, personal-training, healthcare) are delivered through Web-oriented software systems which run on multiple and different devices including computers, mobile devices, wearable devices, and smart TVs. They manage and exchange users’ personal data such as credit reports, locations, and health status. Therefore, the security of the system and its data are of crucial importance. Unfortunately, from security requirements elicitation to security testing, there are a number of challenges to be addressed to ensure the security of Web-oriented software systems. First, existing practices for capturing security requirements do not rely on templates that ensure the specification of requirements in a precise, structured, and unambiguous manner. Second, security testing is usually performed either manually or is only partially automated. Most of existing security testing automation approaches focus only on specific vulnerabilities (e.g., buffer overflow, code injection). In addition, they suffer from the oracle problem, i.e., they cannot determine that the software does not meet its security requirements, except when it leads to denial of service or crashes. For this reason, security test automation is usually partial and only addresses the generation of inputs and not the verification of outputs. Though, in principle, solutions for the automated verification of functional requirements might be adopted to automatically verify security requirements, a number of concerns remain to be addressed. First, there is a lack of studies that demonstrate their applicability, in the context of security testing. Second, the oracle problem remains an open problem in many aspects of software testing research, not only security testing. In the context of functional testing, metamorphic testing has shown to be a viable solution to address the oracle problem; however, it has never been studied in the context of security testing. Contributions. In this dissertation, we propose a set of approaches to address the above-mentioned challenges. (1) To model security requirements in a structured and analyzable manner, we propose a use case modeling approach that relies on a restricted natural language and a template already validated in the context of functional testing. It introduces the concepts of security use case specifications (i.e., what the system is supposed to do) and misuse case specifications (i.e., malicious user behaviours that the system is supposed to prevent). Moreover, we propose a template for capturing guidelines for the mitigation of security threats. (2) To verify that systems meet their security requirements, we propose an approach to automatically generate security test cases from misuse use case specifications. More precisely, we propose a natural language programming solution that automatically generates executable security test cases and test inputs from misuse case specifications in natural language. (3) To address the oracle problem, we propose a… Advisors/Committee Members: Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) >, Software Verification and Validation Lab (SVV Lab) [research center], Briand, Lionel [superviser], Pastore, Fabrizio [president of the jury], Shin, Seung Yeob [member of the jury], Ceccato, Mariano [member of the jury], Sergio, Segura Rueda [member of the jury].

Subjects/Keywords: Metamorphic Security Testing; Misuse Case Programming; Restricted Misuse Case Modeling; Security Modeling; Test Case Generation; Oracle Problem; Software Security; Natural Language Programming; Engineering, computing & technology :: Computer science [C05]; Ingénierie, informatique & technologie :: Sciences informatiques [C05]

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APA (6th Edition):

Mai, X. P. (2020). Automated, Requirements-based Security Testing of Web-oriented Software Systems. (Doctoral Dissertation). Université du Luxembourg. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Mai, Xuan Phu. “Automated, Requirements-based Security Testing of Web-oriented Software Systems.” 2020. Doctoral Dissertation, Université du Luxembourg. Accessed January 20, 2021.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Mai, Xuan Phu. “Automated, Requirements-based Security Testing of Web-oriented Software Systems.” 2020. Web. 20 Jan 2021.


Mai XP. Automated, Requirements-based Security Testing of Web-oriented Software Systems. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Université du Luxembourg; 2020. [cited 2021 Jan 20]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Mai XP. Automated, Requirements-based Security Testing of Web-oriented Software Systems. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Université du Luxembourg; 2020. Available from: