Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

Fault-Tolerant Method Used for Security Purposes in New Framework

A young company has a new patent for using fault tolerance techniques to protect against malware infection in applications.

How do you really know that an application has not been compromised? A newly patented technology is based on the premise that because you know precisely what every thread and API call are supposed to do, any divergence is a sign of trouble.

Fault-tolerance has long used multiple identical instances of an application to insure that the application can continue to function even if its hosting server goes offline. Young startup Virtual Software Systems (VS2) has been granted a patent for using that concept as a way of continuously validating application integrity.

Mario Troiana, head of development for VS2, says the company's fault-tolerant framework is called the Intentional Computing Environment (ICE). "ICE is a framework made up of several mechanisms. Collectively, they instantiate multiple replicas of an application with different processes running on different virtual machines," he says.

"It then enforces determinism of each thread of the application, so every time an API call is reached, the threads are compared to make sure they're going to the same destination in a state space," he says.

According to the company, "ICE detects and inhibits unintended application behavior caused by unpredictable events including hardware failures, malicious activity, and countless other faults." That means if there is a point of application behavior that deviates for any reason from what is expected, ICE throws an exception and halts its execution.

There are a number of components to ICE, each handling or responding to a different aspect of application or data behavior, but the entire suite is based on the idea that application behavior is deterministic — that every part of an application will respond in a predictable, known way to any input.

Troiana is quick to point out two critical aspects of the way that ICE works. First, when software is developed, standard API calls must be replaced with ICE calls. This allows the protection software to work when the code is in production. It also means that this is not a solution applicable to off-the-shelf third-party software where the customer has no access to source code.

And VS2 doesn't promote this as a complete, comprehensive security solution: the company sees it as complementary to other components in a total security architecture. 

ICE is currently available as a feature-complete technology assessment release for beta customers.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat Europe returns to London Dec 3-6 2018  with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

 

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
The Problem with Proprietary Testing: NSS Labs vs. CrowdStrike
Brian Monkman, Executive Director at NetSecOPEN,  7/19/2019
How Attackers Infiltrate the Supply Chain & What to Do About It
Shay Nahari, Head of Red-Team Services at CyberArk,  7/16/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
The Linux Foundation ONOS 1.15.0 and ealier is affected by: Improper Input Validation. The impact is: The attacker can remotely execute any commands by sending malicious http request to the controller. The component is: Method runJavaCompiler in YangLiveCompilerManager.java. The attack vector is: ne...
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
Frog CMS 1.1 is affected by: Cross Site Scripting (XSS). The impact is: Cookie stealing, Alert pop-up on page, Redirecting to another phishing site, Executing browser exploits. The component is: Snippets.
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
Ilias 5.3 before 5.3.12; 5.2 before 5.2.21 is affected by: Cross Site Scripting (XSS) - CWE-79 Type 2: Stored XSS (or Persistent). The impact is: Execute code in the victim's browser. The component is: Assessment / TestQuestionPool. The attack vector is: Cloze Test Text gap (attacker) / Corrections ...
CVE-2019-9959
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
The JPXStream::init function in Poppler 0.78.0 and earlier doesn't check for negative values of stream length, leading to an Integer Overflow, thereby making it possible to allocate a large memory chunk on the heap, with a size controlled by an attacker, as demonstrated by pdftocairo.
CVE-2019-4236
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
A IBM Spectrum Protect 7.l client backup or archive operation running for an HP-UX VxFS object is silently skipping Access Control List (ACL) entries from backup or archive if there are more than twelve ACL entries associated with the object in total. As a result, it could allow a local attacker to ...