Security Can't Wait: Open Kernel Labs Announces Secure Virtualization Product, Raises Bar on the Security of Wireless Subscription Devices

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Open Kernel Labs (OK), a global provider of software and virtualization technology for embedded systems, today outlined its product roadmap for the first half of 2008. OK's software attacks two of today's most pressing issues facing embedded devices developers - vulnerability to outside attacks and internal system failures due to application access issues.

More personal devices are being brought into the business space and this diversity - and the lack of security on such devices is putting companies at risk.

Open Kernel Labs (OK), a global provider of systems software and virtualization technology for embedded system platforms, today outlined its product roadmap for the first half of 2008. OK's software attacks two of today's most pressing issues facing embedded devices developers - vulnerability to outside attacks and internal system failures due to application access issues.

OK's product strategy leverages cutting-edge virtualization and microkernel technology from NICTA -- Australia's pre-eminent Center of Excellence for information and communications technology. OK's relationship with NICTA combines use-inspired research with an experienced development staff -comprising the largest independent staff of kernel hackers working today to solve the toughest problems for the developers of wireless subscription devices.

The technical focus on security and reliability is pressing as market demands, technology limitations and the business issues associated with these devices - such as application failures and hackers working to bring down products and networks haunt executives. This risk has not gone unnoticed. Recently Gartner Research Director Monica Basso noted in a silicon.com article, "More personal devices are being brought into the business space and this diversity - and the lack of security on such devices is putting companies at risk."(Gartner 2007 IT Security Summit).

Addressing squarely these business challenges, the following product roadmap illustrates how developers using OK product solutions will obtain maximum value for their most demanding reliability, safety, and security requirements.

The next three major product developments will include:

1) New Version of OKL4 that complements its existing virtualization capability by adding a lightweight secure execution environment besides the general-purpose OS and RTOS virtualization already supported. This lightweight secure environment allows critical software subsystems to operate with a drastically reduced trusted computing base compared to a virtual machine running a general purpose or embedded OS. This makes it much easier to demonstrate the trustworthiness of the application.

2) The addition of an access-control system based on the concept of capabilities that can limit a software component's access to communication and system resources such as memory and devices, providing greater application security and reliability.

3) OK Linux which allows easy integration of all that Linux has to offer within a virtual machine with limited access rights that prevent a security compromise spreading to other parts of the system. OK Linux is used in combination with leading Linux distributions.

These releases incorporate the commercialization of NICTA research results into products and provide a major step towards a kernel API suitable for highest security requirements. This kernel can eventually be proven to have a completely correct implementation, offering a level of trustworthiness never before available in a general purpose API for embedded system platforms.

"OK Labs is committed to helping establish a new level of mobile device security," said Dr. Gernot Heiser, CTO and Co-founder of OK. "With the technology expertise of the NICTA and OK team we are moving toward providing embedded system developers with mathematically proven software that will provide unprecedented levels of security."

Open Kernel Labs
Open Kernel Labs' (OK) technology leadership in embedded system software and virtualization technology enables the development of reliable, trustworthy and affordable devices. Backed by the largest, independent team of microkernel developers, OK's open-source microkernel operating system, OKL4, offers the highest proven performance combined with strong protection and security features in order to provide developers with a robust, open-source platform for building secure, differentiated embedded applications. For more information on OK and its products visit http://www.ok-labs.com. OK is a spin-out from NICTA, Australia's pre-eminent Center of Excellence for information and communications technology (ICT).

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