Security requirements engineering for evolving software systems: a survey

Nhlabatsi, Armstrong; Nuseibeh, Bashar and Yu, Yijun (2010). Security requirements engineering for evolving software systems: a survey. International Journal of Secure Software Engineering (IJSSE), 1(1) pp. 54–73.



Long-lived software systems often undergo evolution over an extended period of time. Evolution of these systems is inevitable as they need to continue to satisfy changing business needs, new regulations and standards, and the introduction of novel technologies. Such evolution may involve changes that add, remove, or modify features; or that migrate the system from one operating platform to another. These changes may result in requirements that were satisfied in a previous release of a system not being satisfied in its updated version. When evolutionary changes violate security requirements, a system may be left vulnerable to attacks. In this paper we review current approaches to security requirements engineering and conclude that they lack explicit support for managing the effects of software evolution. We then suggest that a cross fertilisation of the areas of software evolution and security engineering would address the problem of maintaining compliance to security requirements of software systems as they evolve. We conclude the paper with a research agenda that highlights research issues that may need to be addressed.

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