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David Bell and Leonard LaPadula. Secure Computer System: Unified Exposition and Multics Interpretation. Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA (1976).

This was the final in a series of four papers in which David Bell and Leonard LaPadula of the not-for-profit MITRE Corporation outlined a mathematical model for creating secure computing systems. The first two papers, both from 1973, produced a mathematical framework and model, while the third, from 1974, developed refinements and extensions to the model. This fourth paper was created in 1975, and published by the MITRE Corporation in 1976, to synthesize the foundations created in the preceding papers, and to provide a practical example of the security model using the then contemporaneous MULTICS operating system.(1)(2) While not the first computer security model, Carl Weissman's ADEPT-50 system, and his "High-water mark," a security model stating that any object that a user opens will reflect the highest security level currently open, were introduced in 1969, the Bell-La Padula model outlined in the first three papers, and presented in a real-world use-case in the fourth, presented a practical, mathematical basis for computer security development.(3)(4) The Bell-LaPadula Model is characterized by its access control policies that preclude a subject from reading an object with a higher security level than their own, and preclude a subject from writing to an object with a lower security level than their own, what is often summarized as, "no read up, no write down."(5)

Donald MacKenzie, Mechanizing Proof: Computing, Risk, and Trust, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001),

Jeffrey R. Yost, "A History of Computer Security Standards," in Karl de Leeuw and Jan Bergstra, eds., The History of Information Security: A Comprehensive Handbook, (Oxford, UK: Elsevier, 2007), 595-621.


1 , 4 : lock BellSecureComputerSystem.pdf, 5-6 - 1976 Secure Computer System: Unified Exposition and Multics Interpretation paper (Login Required)

2 : http://star-property.offthisweek.com/resume.html

3 : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-water_mark_(computer_security).

5 : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%E2%80%93LaPadula_model

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Topic revision: r4 - 15 May 2013 - 09:41:55 - NicLewis
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