Secure Portable Execution Environments: A Review of Available Technologies

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Executive Summary

Live operating systems and virtualisation allow a known, defined, safe and secure execution environment to be loaded in to a PC's memory and executed with either minimal or possibly no reliance on the PC's internal hard disk drive. The ability to boot a live operating system or load a virtual environment (containing an operating system) from a USB storage device allows a secure portable execution environment to be created. Portable execution environments have typically been used by technologists, for example to recover data from a failing PC internal hard disk drive or to perform forensic analysis. However, with the commercial potential of portable execution environments becoming realised the requirement for such environments to be secure is becoming increasingly important.

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