Kaspersky Lab Confirms it is Developing an OS

Kaspersky Lab's own Eugene Kaspersky confirmed on Tuesday that the security firm wants to protect the world's critical infrastructure by developing its own "secure" operating system.

According to Kaspersky's blog, the new pared-down OS is targeting key computer systems used in transportation control facilities, nuclear power stations, and other "critically important" installations. The new OS will be less vulnerable to attack from malicious programs like Stuxnet, Kaspersky said.

"Our system is highly tailored, developed for solving a specific narrow task, and not intended for playing Half-Life on, editing your vacation videos, or blathering on social media," Kaspersky said. "We’re working on methods of writing software which by design won’t be able to carry out any behind-the-scenes, undeclared activity."

This is the important bit, he said, the impossibility of executing third-party code, or of breaking into the system or running unauthorized applications on Kaspersky's OS. "This is both provable and testable," he added.

Kaspersky is targeting industrial IT systems because unlike a corporate file server used in the typical company network, industrial systems can't be disrupted when a Trojan is detected and needs to be isolated. These systems must maintain constant operation "come hell or high water" – uninterrupted continuity of production is of paramount importance.

"Another challenge to securing an 'always on' environment arises due to software at an industrial/infrastructural installation only being updated after a thorough check for fault-tolerance – so as to make sure not to interrupt the working processes," he explained. "And because such a check requires loads of effort (yet still doesn’t provide a guarantee of non-failure) many companies often simply don’t bother to update ICS at all – leaving it unchanged for decades."

Kaspersky goes on to list a few examples of why a secure OS needs to be developed including the direct attack on SCADA systems in Australia back in 2000, and a hole that was discovered in RuggedCom industrial routers. This hole permitted any average user to simply increase his/her access rights up to administrator level and gain control over the device.

So how does one create an uber-secure operating system? Kaspersky said it can't be based on existing computer code, and it can't contain mistakes or vulnerabilities in the kernel. The kernel itself must also contain a very bare minimum of code – the maximum possible quantity of code, including drivers, needs to be controlled by the core and be executed with low-level access rights. There also needs to be a powerful and reliable system of protection that supports different models of security.

To read the entire blog, head here. Kaspersky Lab goes into additional detail here in its October 16 update.

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  • ricardok
    Interesting news.. I would enjoy that new "secure" OS to be put to the test once is out to see if it's actually possible to secure it to Buffer Overflows and other attacks from the network.
  • sa1nt
    Nice. When i read name of the article i thought of another linux distribution marketed as "NEW" OS.
  • ruszip1
    even windows 95 is the most secure os if its not connected to the internet.
  • southernshark
    Another OS is just what the world needs.

    What the world needs now.
  • ddpruitt
    I see a bunch of marketing hype in the articles (the Kaspersky articles) not much else. Let's see what they come up with, but I'm willing to bet it'll be a Unix derivative of one form or another.
  • mt2e
    I wouldn't trust it, might be a Russian Intelligence link.
  • PhilFrisbie
    If its not open source then there will no way to confirm these claims.
  • DeadNetwork
    This could potentially become bigger than they expected. I like the idea, more competition!
  • yes what the world needs now is another distribution of linux

    oh brother. what curse have the god set upon the linux folks, what flaw, that they all need their own different distribution.

    dont we have enough distributions already, surely more than baskin-robbin flavors

    enough already! if you ever going to win you have to learn to work together and stop acting like the world is coming to an end in the tower of babble
  • can you still call it an OS?