Cybersecurity company and antivirus maker Kaspersky Lab has finally released the long-awaited KasperskyOS, a purpose-built operating system specifically for Internet of Things connected devices, embedded systems, network devices and industrial control systems.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill operating system. With cybersecurity threats to connected devices in the Internet of Things and industrial networks on the rise, this secure-by-design OS will prevent malicious code from running on such devices and networks.
Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky has confirmed what has been a rumor for more than a decade – that the project, codenamed 11-11 has been designed from scratch and is now available for deployment.
The new operating system from Kaspersky Lab uses a microkernel architecture, and only executes code that it is allowed to – nothing else. By enabling global “Default Deny” at the process level, they were able to create a secure operating system specifically for industrial systems and closed networks that need to be online all the time.
Such mission-critical systems cannot be exposed to even the slightest possibility of a cyberattack, and their components are not that easy to take offline in order to isolate any malware. Essentially, as Kaspersky puts it:
“In simple words, it’s a system that does what it’s instructed to and is unable to do anything else. With traditional operating systems, that’s impossible.”
So, is this a unique operating system that is secure-by-design? Not at all. Kaspersky himself admits that there are a few other successful projects like this one. But he says that one of the biggest problems is that their cost is sky-high – literally:
“…the cost of their implementation is on a par with that of an airplane (curiously, such systems were indeed used on airplanes), so such projects were never destined to produce widely applied kit.”
Essentially, however, he says that no other project has ever reached the full-scale deployment or commercialization stages.
The company has essentially created three products: the operating system, called KOS, a standalone secure hypervisor, called KHS, and a dedicated system for secure interaction between components of the operating system, called KSS.
Kaspersky says that each of these can be used on their own as well, citing German company SYSGO, which has licensed KSS for its own operating system called PikeOS.
He also notes other companies that have either deployed one product or the entire operating system with all its components, such as Kraftway Switches.
Though KasperskyOS has essentially been created as a niche system, Kaspersky says that it is extremely flexible, and can even be further tweaked to be a mass-market product. However, considering the cost and resources needed to achieve that, he says the company hasn’t planned that far ahead yet.
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