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Critical Systems


Critical Systems

If the system failure results in significant economic

losses, physical damages or threats to human life
than the system is called critical systems.
3 types are:
Safety-critical systems
Failure results in loss of life, injury or damage to the
Chemical plant protection system;

Mission-critical systems
Failure results in failure of some goal-directed activity;
Spacecraft navigation system;

Business-critical systems
Failure results in high economic losses;
Customer accounting system in a bank;

Validation Parameters
Reliability validation

Does measured system reliability meet its

Is system reliability good enough to satisfy users?

Safety validation

Does system operate so that accidents do not occur?

Are accident consequences minimized?

Security validation

Is system secure against external attack?

Validation Techniques
Static techniques

design reviews and program inspections

mathematical arguments and proof

Dynamic techniques

statistical testing
scenario-based testing
run-time checking

Process validation

SE processes should minimize the chances of

introducing system defects

Static Validation Techniques

Concerned with analysis of documentation
Focus is on finding system errors and

identifying potential problems that may arise

during system operation
Documents may be prepared to support
static validation

structured arguments
mathematical proofs

Dynamic Validation
Concerned with validating system during its

Testing techniques

analyzing the system outside of its operational


Run-time checking

checking during normal execution that a system is

operating within its dependability envelop

Safety Validation

Design validation

design is checked to ensure that hazards that

cannot be handled without causing an accident do

not arise

Code validation

code is checked for conformance to specification

and to ensure that the code is a true
implementation of the design

Run-time validation

using run-time checks to monitor to make sure

system does not enter unsafe state during

Reliability Validation
Involves exercising the program to assess

whether it has reached the required level of

reliability or not
Cant be done during normal defect testing
process, because defect test data is not always
typical of normal usage data
Statistical testing must be used where a
statistically significant data sample based on
simulated usage is used to assess reliability

Reliability Validation Process

Establish an operational profile for the system
Construct test data reflecting this operational

Test the system and observe both the number
of failure and the times of the failures
Compute the reliability after a statistically
significant number of failures have been

Security Validation
Similar to safety validation in that the goal is to

demonstrate that system cannot enter an insecure

(or unsafe) state
The key differences between security and safety

safety problems are accidental

security problems are deliberate
security problems tend to be generic
safety problems tend to be application domain specific

Security Validation
Experience-based validation

system is reviewed and analyzed in terms of the

types of attack known to the validation team

Tool-based validation

security tools (e.g. password checkers) are used to

analyze system in operation

Tiger teams

teams try to breach security by simulating attacks on

the system

Review Tips
Keep software as simple as possible
Avoid error prone software constructs during

Use information hiding to localize effects of
data corruption
Make appropriate use of fault tolerant