New Book Chapter on Solaris Trusted Extensions

Glenn Faden and I recently contributed a book chapter on Solaris Trusted Extensions (pdf version)  to Trent Jaeger's new book on Operating System Security, published by Morgan & Claypool Publishers. This book is part of the Synthesis Lectures on Information Security, Privacy and Trust. Check it out!

  • Jaeger, Trent. Operating System Security. Synthesis Lectures on Information Security, Privacy and Trust. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. 2008.

The table of contents of our chapter:

8 Case Study: Solaris Trusted Extensions
   Glenn Faden and Christoph Schuba, Sun Microsystems, Inc. 

8.1 Trusted Extensions Access Control
8.2 Solaris Compatibility
8.3 Trusted Extensions Mediation
8.4 Process Rights Management (Privileges)
8.4.1 Privilege Bracketing and Relinquishing
8.4.2 Controlling Privilege Escalation
8.4.3 Assigned Privileges and Safeguards
8.5 Role-based Access Control (RBAC)
8.5.1 RBAC Authorizations
8.5.2 Rights Profiles
8.5.3 Users and Roles
8.5.4 Converting the Superuser to a Role
8.6 Trusted Extensions Networking
8.7 Trusted Extensions Multilevel Services
8.8 Trusted Extensions Administration
8.9 Summary

And the abstract for the book: 

Abstract

Operating systems provide the fundamental mechanisms for securing computer processing. Since the 1960s, operating systems designers have explored how to build “secure” operating systems — operating systems whose mechanisms protect the system against a motivated adversar y. Recently, the importance of ensuring such security has become a mainstream issue for all operating systems.

In this book, we examine past research that outlines the requirements for a secure operating system and research that implements example systems that aim for such requirements. For system designs that aimed to satisfy these requirements, we see that the complexity of software systems often results in implementation challenges that we are still exploring to this day. However, if a system design does not aim for achieving the secure operating system requirements, then its security features fail to protect the system in a myriad of ways. We also study systems that have been retrofit with secure operating system features after an initial deployment. In all cases, the conflict between function on one hand and security on the other leads to difficult choices and the potential for unwise compromises.

From this book, we hope that systems designers and implementors will learn the requirements for operating systems that effectively enforce security and will better understand how to manage the balance between function and security.

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