Former OLPC Security Chief to Make Macs Safer?

With the sales of Macs increasing, the average Apple user’s fall back claim of, “well, we get fewer viruses” is definitely in danger. The more Macs there are out there, the faster Mac-specific viruses will start cropping up and it looks like Apple, along with the help of Krstic are determined to ensure the Mac’s reputation for being virtually virus-free intact.

According to ZDNet, Krstic designed the OLPC’s Bitfrost system, which he says prevents any program from damaging the computer, stealing files or  spying on the user. Instead of blocking specific viruses, Bitfrost isolates every program on the computer in a separate "virtual operating system," preventing any program from damaging the computer, stealing files, or spying on the user. Viruses are left isolated and impotent, unable to execute their code. “This defeats the entire purpose of writing a virus,” says Krstic.

Krstic wrote about the move to Apple on his personal blog but revealed little details about the decision to work for Apple. Ivan explains that he left OLPC a year ago to pursue “a new adventure.” Despite the fact that he was admitted to an MIT graduate program, he did not accept the place at MIT and said he felt a brief update about what he was doing with his life was in order. After brief descriptions about his own research and his roll in this year’s PyCon conference, Krstic finishes the post with the announcement that he has found the new adventure he has sought for the last year.

“But perhaps most importantly, I have — at long last — found my new adventure. After a great deal of deliberation, I moved to California and joined the local fruit vendor.Today was my first day on the job, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

No word from Apple on the hiring of this bright spark.

  • Yoder54
    Apple seems to be moving in the right direction with all of these high-profile hires in the past year. Maybe that is one reason their stock has increased almost 50% in the last few months...the industry sees them going places.
  • chripuck
    Stock prices provide no indicator to a companies success in the coming future. Do you honestly think that Apple and Google are 10x's more valuable than Microsoft... because that's what stock prices tell you. And before you answer that, Microsoft had 60 Billion in revenue in 08 vs 32 Billion by Apple.

    Stock prices are as much about how many outstanding shares there are as they are about them "going places."

    At this point Apple has no where to go but down and all of their recent hires are to ensure they don't go that direction. They've had one hell of a ride and I dont blame them for wanting to stay on top, even if all they've done is be the "cool" computer to own.
  • chripuck
    PS My Ford stock has increased 300% in the past few months... do you think that means they're going to even higher places or do you think its an artifact of the ridiculously low prices that the stocks have dropped to?
  • warezme
    Yes if my salary jumped by a couple of zero's I would consider that as "having found my new adventure" to.
  • deltatux
    Interesting concept by running everything in isolation. Sounds like what Google did with Google Chrome by sandboxing every single tab and window within a process.

    I think this is an indeed a great way forward as one software gets infected, the infection can't spread to other parts. I wish we can do this on the human body without amputating someone as that's basically what we're doing with these viruses. By cutting them off from being able to infect the rest of the system.
  • tenor77
    That's quite a jump from a job designed to get computers to everyone, to a company designed to be computers for the few.
  • AFAIK, the BSD kernel that OSX stole is (was)just as secure as the Linux kernel. The reason that the Linux kernel is secure is that it doesn't allow arbitrary execution of code, which only leaves "L337 low-level wizardry" and "user stupidity/phishing for idiots" exploits. However, where Windows and OSX fail is that they've engineered and added all kinds of big brother-ware/back-door/"ET Phone Home" functionality in which hackers then discover and exploit.
  • solymnar
    Bringing some "bright sparks" from the industry at large seems more a pre-emptive move to deal with the power vacuum Jobs is leaving behind and diversify the brain power at apple.

    Its a good move, imo. Apple could definitely handle increasing the diversity of their approach to things a bit. Simply relying on the idea that hackers ignor macs due to low penetration as they've done in the past is an extremely poor strategy to say the least.
  • danimal_the_animal this puts the nail in the coffin that it is currently unsafe.

    now that apple has all those commercials "claiming" that they dont get viruses ect. (total bullshit)

    now they have to put up or shutup
  • jhansonxi
    I met Ivan Krstic at a conference when he was with OLPC. He's a really smart guy.