Sun's Trusted Solaris 10 Coming This Year

by Michael Singer

The company is betting big on its user rights management, predictive self-healing, Solaris containers, and a new cryptographic framework.

Sun Microsystems will be releasing a separate version of its Solaris 10 operating system for military-grade networks later this year, executives said Thursday.

John Loiacono, executive vice president of software at Sun, said the updated version would be based on the current build of its enterprise OS, which is a combination of its enterprise-level and military-grade or "Trusted" Solaris. The update is expected to address high-level features needed for government-style networks, including a new function Sun calls an automatic runtime verification program.

Similar to the way a cell phone tracks both numbers called and received, Loiacono said the feature checks the system's code right when it is executed. The technique cuts down on unauthorized modification between periodic auditing checks and actual use.

John Loiacono
John Loiacono
Source: Sun

"When was the last time you saw someone making a crank call on a cell phone? You don't," Loiacono said during his keynote at the RSA Security Conference here. "The reason is that you can track it back to the caller. Well, the same thing can apply here."

Using the verification technology, IT managers could customize which signatures will be checked, and use provided tools to digitally-sign code from other sources, he noted.

Another new feature rolling out soon called Solaris Secure Execution lets customers verify that the code they are running has not been modified at any time after it was produced by Sun -- or any other vendor -- protecting users from Trojan horses and other malicious code threats. The ability is key to Sun's focus on helping a company's Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory compliance program.

The upcoming Trusted version of Solaris is also expected to improve on current user process and user rights management, Predictive Self Healing, Solaris Containers, a new Cryptographic Framework based on the PKCS#11 standard, and digitally-signed binaries including utilities, libraries and kernel modules.

"Just yesterday, we surpassed 500,000 downloads of the 5.5Gb file and that is just since it was officially released two weeks ago. And two thirds are on the x86 platform," Loiacono said.

In addition to rolling out new features, Sun said its Solaris 9 Operating System has received Common Criteria Certification after nearly 15 months of certification testing. An evaluation for Solaris 10 is currently under way, the company said.

Solaris 10 went into beta in March 2004. Additional features trickle out on a monthly schedule through Sun's Software Express program. The current release includes more than 600 improvements, but Loiacono said Sun's advantage is that it understands how to protect a network well with the help of its various partners or IForce groups.

"Absolute security will never exist," Loiacono said. "Organizations must build trust, not walls, as security becomes a critical part of decentralized network services."

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

This article was originally published on Friday Feb 18th 2005
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