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Object Capabilities and Isolation of Untrusted Web Applications

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3 Author(s)
Maffeis, S. ; Imperial Coll. London, London, UK ; Mitchell, J.C. ; Taly, A.

A growing number of current web sites combine active content (applications) from untrusted sources, as in so-called mashups. The object-capability model provides an appealing approach for isolating untrusted content: if separate applications are provided disjoint capabilities, a sound object-capability framework should prevent untrusted applications from interfering with each other, without preventing interaction with the user or the hosting page. In developing language-based foundations for isolation proofs based on object-capability concepts, we identify a more general notion of authority safety that also implies resource isolation. After proving that capability safety implies authority safety, we show the applicability of our framework for a specific class of mashups. In addition to proving that a JavaScript subset based on Google Caja is capability safe, we prove that a more expressive subset of JavaScript is authority safe, even though it is not based on the object-capability model.

Published in:

Security and Privacy (SP), 2010 IEEE Symposium on

Date of Conference:

16-19 May 2010