Veteran Computer Designers Develop Unique Cyber Security Solution

Team Creates the World's First Software-Defined Secure Computer

November 13, 2015

4 Min Read


WALTHAM, Mass., Nov. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Virtual Software Systems (VS2) has banded together a team of computer systems veterans to create a unique technology designed to halt cyber attacks. Called xRA™, for eXploit Resilient Architecture and pronounced "X-Ray", the patent-pending, software-based solution detects and rejects exploits without the need for prior knowledge of breach signatures. It creates a secure system that ensures an application will only do what it is supposed to do, no more no less, and in the process prevents all forms of data theft or corruption. xRA runs on virtually any computer platform, from cloud and data center servers to micro-chips for the Internet of Things (IoT). It can be embedded in dedicated devices and is Microsoft Windows and Linux compatible. Currently under evaluation by a Fortune 100 IT services firm for enterprise use, a major aerospace contractor for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and by the US Government, the technology is targeted for broad deployment in Q1 2016.

"VS2 has devised a truly remarkable innovation, essentially the world's first software-defined secure computer (SDSC™), with the potential to level the playing field with hackers, nation states, and other cyber threats wreaking havoc on the global economy," saidEric Marks, President and CEO of AgilePath Corporation, and an expert on Cloud Computing. "While many organizations, including government agencies, are exploring ways to rebuild computing architectures to make them safer, many of these projects remain in the research stage. xRA stands out as the first real practical offering in this movement."

xRA embodies four decades of computer design experience by engineers who developed some of the foundational technologies in the computer industry. Their pedigrees include MIT, Harvard, Digital Equipment Corporation, Cisco, EDS and IBM. Inspired by chemical and biological models, the solution is an elegantly designed microkernel that fuses with the underlying hardware and software resources of the host computer. The SDSC is presented as a secured composite container fully compatible with the underlying platform. For hosted applications it provides active data file protection, fault tolerant operation, exploit prevention, real-time sandboxing, continuous processing and extensive forensics while continuing to deliver the compute power and system services of the underlying platform.

A Systems Approach Differentiates

"While developing xRA, as systems scientists and engineers, we were not constrained by traditional cyber security thinking on how to keep exploits out of a computer," explains Richard Fiorentino, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder. "We decided to attack the problem not in the network perimeter but within the host, i.e. the computer itself, because that is where malicious code or insider malfeasance reveals its true intent. The final result somewhat surprised us as we ended up removing vulnerabilities from both the underlying hardware and from the operating system rather than just adding complex protection features." Fiorentino continues, "Even better, our team was able to create the xRA solution with a very small code footprint. Thus, xRA can be used efficiently with large enterprise applications as well as in microservice architectures, custom appliances and secure IoT end-point applications."

The systems approach allows xRA to:

  • Provide true zero-day protection by rejecting exploit attempts without analytic overhead or prior knowledge of previous attacks

  • Reduce the attack surface to a single thread while increasing the protection surface beyond the underlying platform

  • Ensure that no in-flight data transactions are lost due to hardware failures or exploit removal

  • Combine multiple xRA SDSCs across independent, power-isolated hardware platforms to create a monolithic, security-enhanced, fault tolerant system for applications that require continuous processing with better than 99.9999% availability (less than 1 minute of downtime per year)

Designed for Flexibility

xRA's comprehensive architectural framework operates seamlessly with existing defensive and analytical cyber security solutions and with the installed base of legacy hardware and software.

VS2 plans to release three versions of xRA, each optimized for a specific market:

  • xRA-Enterprise™; for enterprise or cloud-based application developers (Feature-rich and offering a server-based SDSC run-time processor)

  • xRA-ES™; for embedded system developers

  • xRA-IoT™; for Internet of Things systems developers

"The unique effectiveness and breadth of applications for xRA™ make it an ideal addition to any cyber security solution," says John Conway, VS2 CEO and co-founder. John adds, "Most importantly, xRA forms a secure computer environment while cost-effectively maintaining and enhancing existing investments in IT infrastructure, applications, training, and support. It transforms existing systems into secure systems via a simple injection of software."

About Virtual Software Systems, Inc.

Virtual Software Systems (VS2) is a software venture on a mission to ensure reliable and secure applications and data, regardless of platform. VS2 founders and developers authored 26 patents and each have, on average, 30+ years of computer design experience across a broad range of technologies including: fault tolerant, massively parallel, floating point, and graphics processors; routers; and compilers. With unique, patent-pending technologies and a veteran team responsible for numerous computer industry innovations, our goal is to create an inherently secure, clean computing environment for all.  For more information see the Overview or contact us at [email protected]

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