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Scientists discover `kernel` to make systems more reliable

Last Updated: Friday, August 14, 2009 - 13:13

Washington: Scientists have created a
"kernel" -- the basis of a computer`s operating system -- that
is proven reliable with mathematics, a milestone which they
claim will pave the way for a new generation of software with
unprecedented levels of reliability.

According to them, the Secure Embedded L4 microkernel
has potential applications in defence and other safety and
security industries where the flawless operation of complex
embedded systems is of critical importance.

"Formal proofs for specific properties have
been conducted for smaller kernels, but what we have done is
a general, functional correctness proof which has never before
been achieved for real-world, high-performance software of
this complexity or size," said Dr Gerwin Klein of NICTA in
Australia, who led an international team.

According to the scientists, the proof also shows that
many kinds of common attacks will not work on the seL4 kernel.

For instance, the microkernel is impervious to buffer
overflows, a common form of software attack where hackers take
control of programs by injecting malicious code. "Our kernel
cannot be subverted by this kind of attack," Klein said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, August 14, 2009 - 13:13
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