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
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
7 Truths About BEC Scams
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  6/13/2019
DNS Firewalls Could Prevent Billions in Losses to Cybercrime
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/13/2019
Cognitive Bias Can Hamper Security Decisions
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
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-2013-7472
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
The "Count per Day" plugin before 3.2.6 for WordPress allows XSS via the wp-admin/?page=cpd_metaboxes daytoshow parameter.
CVE-2019-12839
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In OrangeHRM 4.3.1 and before, there is an input validation error within admin/listMailConfiguration (txtSendmailPath parameter) that allows authenticated attackers to achieve arbitrary command execution.
CVE-2019-12840
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In Webmin through 1.910, any user authorized to the "Package Updates" module can execute arbitrary commands with root privileges via the data parameter to update.cgi.
CVE-2019-12835
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
formats/xml.cpp in Leanify 0.4.3 allows for a controlled out-of-bounds write in xml_memory_writer::write via characters that require escaping.
CVE-2019-12830
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In MyBB before 1.8.21, an attacker can exploit a parsing flaw in the Private Message / Post renderer that leads to [video] BBCode persistent XSS to take over any forum account, aka a nested video MyCode issue.