Master Thesis MSTR-2017-48

BibliographyKeck, Philipp: Analysing and improving the crypto ecosystem of Rust.
University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Information Technology, Master Thesis No. 48 (2017).
157 pages, english.

Context: Rust is an emerging systems programming language that suits security-critical applications because it guarantees memory safety without a garbage collector. Its growing ecosystem already encompasses several crypto libraries, though the competition is still open. Previous cryptography research found that vulnerabilities are often due to misunderstandings and misuse of cryptographic APIs rather than bugs in the libraries themselves. Aim: This thesis presents a holistic analysis of Rust's current crypto ecosystem and aims to improve its further development. A particular focus is on API design because all libraries are still open to change their APIs and it will become increasingly difficult to change them later. Method: All parts of the ecosystem are systematically analysed, guided by the general structure of a crypto ecosystem. Research methods include a systematic search for libraries, a survey among contributors, GitHub analyses as well as a self-experiment and a controlled experiment to test the usability. Results: The contributors are typical open source developers and they collaborate in typical ways on GitHub. Most libraries have a clear main developer and there is a general lack of contributors. While two of the major libraries focus on usability and are consequently easier to use and more resistant to misuse, the two most widespread libraries consciously neglect these topics and exhibit flaws known from crypto libraries in other languages. Conclusion: The misuse resistant Rust crypto libraries should be advertised more actively. In the medium term, an officially endorsed API could improve interoperability and foster competition. For such an API and for the improvement of existing APIs, the thesis discusses a number of design decisions and their usability implications.

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Department(s)University of Stuttgart, Institute of Software Technology, Software Engineering
Superviser(s)Wagner, Prof. Stefan; Mindermann, Kai
Entry dateMay 29, 2019
   Publ. Computer Science