Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Cybersecurity and Antivirus Software Vendor Kaspersky Launches An OS, Because Why Not

When it comes to operating systems most people will only be able to give you a couple names. Typically those would be would Microsoft, Apple/macOS/iOS, Android and Linux (semantics aside here). Most people would likely be surprised that there are several well know players out there that are actively looking at ways to break into the operating system market. Some in fact have, and failed miserably.

That however isn't stopping one of the better known security and antivirus vendors out there from throwing their hat into the ring. Widely know cybersecurity and antivirus vendor Kaspersky has announced  this week the availability of KasperskyOS. What the company is calling a new "secure operating system" aimed at network devices, industrial control systems and the Internet of Things.

In a post on his official blog, Eugene Kaspersky (chief executive of the company) announced the new product and offered a quick overview of what how the operating system hopes to keep system more secure and what their end game is. For you geeks they have been kind enough to cut out the sales and marketing approach and give some hard details. For the rest I'll summarize what Kaspersky has to say about their new OS below!

First off KasperskyOS is meant to be highly flexible. Their goal is to have an open project that is specialized specifically for niche projects and products. So don't expect to see it on any of your machines anytime soon. They are shooting more for enterprise applications that anything else. However, according to the KasperskyOS whitepaper, supported architectures include: x86/x64 CPU's: Pentium II or higher, ARM CPU,: ARMv7 or higher, and Ethernet: Realtek RTL8139, Intel i82580.

Security is built from the ground up with a secure Default Deny system at the process level and is wrapped into a microkernel. In simple words, it’s a system that does what it’s instructed to and is unable to do anything else. Unlike most operating systems, where as user interaction can bypass security controls, KasperskyOS is extremely locked down. It divides objects into isolated entities which only allows for very limited interaction between packages creating a wall between the OS, applications and security levels.

To create a package that could be applied in several different areas of granular customization, Kaspersky has developed three basic products into one:
  • An Operating System (KasperskyOS)
  • A standalone secure hypervisor (KSH) for running virtual machines
  • A system for secure interaction between OS components (KSS)
All three components work in tandem to try to build upon each other to create the secure environment. The systems are being called a "project offering" and not "a boxed solution with a cure-all for everyone." The company says their intent is to working closely and collaborate with vendors and developers to configure these systems based on their requirements to meet their individual security needs.

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