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A web application contains resources that can be accessed by many users. These resources often traverse unprotected, open networks such as the Internet. In such an environment, a substantial number of web applications rely on security policies, often enforced through mechanisms and infrastructure of servlet containers, to meet specific requirements such as:

  • Authentication: The means by which communicating entities prove to one another that they are acting on behalf of specific identities that are authorized for access.

  • Access control for resources: The means by which interactions with resources are limited to collections of users or programs for the purpose of enforcing integrity, confidentiality, or availability constraints.

  • Data Integrity: The means used to prove that information has not been modified by a third party while in transit.

  • Confidentiality or Data Privacy: The means used to ensure that information is made available only to users who are authorized to access it.

However, putting in place a security policy within a servlet is often an error-prone and time-consuming task due to the different ways to enforce it (i.e., declarative, programmatic). We propose a Model-based approach that provides an overview of all security constraints enforced in a servlet web application, identifying possible misconfigurations and security leaks.


The tool is developed on the Eclipse platform. It relies on several tools and technologies from the Model Driven Engineering ecosystem (ATL, MoDisco, Xtext).

  • Xtext is used to create a DSL and a metamodel to define security information (constraints and roles)

  • MoDisco is used to obtain a model representation of the XML descriptor (web.xml) and Java classes composing the web application

  • ATL is used to extract the security information contained in the web application to an homogeneous representation, that allows to represent such a information in textual and graphical formats, thus easing the understanding of the actual policies enforced