Networking Investigate

Towards Application Security on Untrusted Operating Systems

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Executive Summary

Complexity in commodity operating systems makes compromises inevitable. Consequently, a great deal of work has examined how to protect security-critical portions of applications from the OS through mechanisms such as microkernels, virtual machine monitors, and new processor architectures. Unfortunately, most work has focused on CPU and memory isolation and neglected OS semantics. Thus, while much is known about how to prevent OS and application processes from modifying each other, far less is understood about how different OS components can undermine application security if they turn malicious. This paper explores how malicious behavior in each major OS subsystem can undermine application security, and present potential mitigations.

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