Identifying security-related requirements in regulatory documents based on cross-project classification
Paper in proceeding, 2022

Security is getting substantial focus in many industries, especially safety-critical ones. When new regulations and standards which can run to hundreds of pages are introduced, it is necessary to identify the requirements in those documents which have an impact on security. Additionally, it is necessary to revisit the requirements of existing systems and identify the security related ones. We investigate the feasibility of using a classifier for security-related requirements trained on requirement specifications available online. We base our investigation on 15 requirement documents, randomly selected and partially pre-labelled, with a total of 3,880 requirements. To validate the model, we run a cross-project prediction on the data where each specification constitutes a group. We also test the model on three different United Nations (UN) regulations from the automotive domain with different magnitudes of security relevance. Our results indicate the feasibility of training a model from a heterogeneous data set including specifications from multiple domains and in different styles. Additionally, we show the ability of such a classifier to identify security requirements in real-life regulations and discuss scenarios in which such a classification becomes useful to practitioners.

Security Requirements

Automated Requirements Engineering

Machine Learning

Requirements Classification


Mazen Mohamad

University of Gothenburg

Jan-Philipp Steghöfer

XITASO GmbH IT Software Solutions

Alexander Åström

Comentor AB

Riccardo Scandariato

Technical University of Hamburg (TUHH)

PROMISE 2022 - Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Predictive Models and Data Analytics in Software Engineering, co-located with ESEC/FSE 2022

9781450398602 (ISBN)

18th ACM International Conference on Predictive Models and Data Analytics in Software Engineering, PROMISE 2022, co-located with the 30th ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, ESEC/FSE 2022
Singapore, Singapore,

Subject Categories

Other Computer and Information Science

Software Engineering

Computer Systems



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