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.

Risk

7/8/2009
03:53 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Discloses Plans For New Malware-Resistant OS

Chrome OS aimed at eradicating malware issues for desktops with lightweight platform and cloud-based application model

Google is building its own operating system aimed at eliminating malware problems at the consumer's desktop.

The company late yesterday announced its work on the new Google Chrome OS, a lightweight OS that sits atop a Linux kernel and will run on X86 and ARM chips.

"We are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware," blogged Google's Sundar Pichai, vice president for product management, and Linus Upson, engineering director. "Most of the user experience takes place on the Web."

Chrome OS code will be available as open source later this year, and Google says it plans to make it available on netbooks by the second half of 2010.

Google wouldn't provide specifics on the OS or its security features beyond the blog post, but security experts say while this Web application-focused OS should eliminate the usual desktop threats, it still will be subject to Web-borne threats. Web application vulnerabilities today are some of the most prevalent, with cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection attacks increasing on Websites.

"[Google Chrome OS] should be immune to most existing PC viruses, but will face Web-based risks and attacks much like any other browser model would," says Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group. "User authentication is probably [the] biggest problem -- even more than a PC -- as this will become a natural key to a lot of large databases and services."

Enderle says the Chrome OS will likely also focus on phishing and Web-borne attacks versus traditional desktop viruses. "It effectively changes the security model for the desktop into something much more similar to a thin client/cell phone model," he says.

Rich Mogull, founder of Securosis, says smart handsets already have paved the way to this type of user model. But the Chrome OS model doesn't necessarily mean safer computing for consumers. "It just shifts the risk," he says. "It's just going to be a shift in attacks [to Web applications]...and we've already seen of lot of that [occurring]. If anything, [Chrome OS is] going to highlight Web application security issues."

Paul Henry, security and forensics expert for Lumension, says Google thus far hasn't provided enough information on the security elements of Google Chrome OS. "There have been claims that it is virus-free or virus-proof -- however, there really is no specific security capability mentioned on the product beyond, perhaps, the reduced threat envelope you would get in using any application-specific OS," he says.

Meanwhile, Google said in its announcement that the Web is the platform for application developers writing for Chrome OS. "All Web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform," the blog said.

Enderle says Chrome OS is basically a scaled-up Android based on the Linux kernel. "An app store model will limit most of what runs, and an increasing amount of content will be online and not run locally at all," he says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I 'Hacked' My Accounts Using My Mobile Number: Here's What I Learned
Nicole Sette, Director in the Cyber Risk practice of Kroll, a division of Duff & Phelps,  11/19/2019
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Attackers' Costs Increasing as Businesses Focus on Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5087
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
An exploitable integer overflow vulnerability exists in the flattenIncrementally function in the xcf2png and xcf2pnm binaries of xcftools 1.0.7. An integer overflow can occur while calculating the row's allocation size, that could be exploited to corrupt memory and eventually execute arbitrary code....
CVE-2019-5509
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
ONTAP Select Deploy administration utility versions 2.11.2 through 2.12.2 are susceptible to a code injection vulnerability which when successfully exploited could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to enable and use a privileged user account.
CVE-2019-6693
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
Use of a hard-coded cryptographic key to cipher sensitive data in FortiOS configuration backup file may allow an attacker with access to the backup file to decipher the sensitive data, via knowledge of the hard-coded key. The aforementioned sensitive data includes users' passwords (except the admini...
CVE-2019-17272
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
All versions of ONTAP Select Deploy administration utility are susceptible to a vulnerability which when successfully exploited could allow an administrative user to escalate their privileges.
CVE-2019-17650
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
An Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command vulnerability in one of FortiClient for Mac OS root processes, may allow a local user of the system on which FortiClient is running to execute unauthorized code as root by bypassing a security check.