Kaspersky OS: Antivirus Firm’s Own Secure Operating System
After 14 years of development, Kaspersky, the popular Russian cyber security, and antivirus firm has finally launched its own allegedly hack-proof operating system: Kaspersky OS. The OS was designed from scratch rather than relying on Linux. The Kraftway Layer 3 Switch is the very first tool running the Kaspersky OS, which is designed for networks with extreme requirements for data security and aimed at critical infrastructure and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Initially, not much was revealed about the OS being built, except that it was to be a ground-up build OS. More details surfaced later in a paper in 2012, publicizing their intent to improve infrastructures such as power stations, electricity grids, and telecommunication networks. The paper mentioned that to provide a secure system for these infrastructures:
- The operating system must be written from scratch.
- The kernel controls the rest of the modules of the system. To guarantee security, the kernel must have no vulnerabilities or dual-purpose code.
- Similarly, the kernel needs to contain a very bare minimum of code. The bulk of the code, including drivers, must be controlled by the core and executed with low-level access rights.
To achieve this, there needs to be a powerful and reliable system of protection that supports different models of security.
Kaspersky OS offers just that. It boasts of several distinctive features, as described in their post:
- It is based on a microkernel architecture. This new secure OS allows customization based on user requirements. So, depending on user preference, Kaspersky OS can be modified by using different blocks of operating system.
- It has a built-in security system. This controls the behavior of applications and OS modules. To get past this security, one would need to break the digital signature. Without quantum computers, that would be an arduous task.
- It is non-Linux. Keeping security as their priority, Kaspersky built the OS ground-up, in keeping with the criteria mentioned in their paper.
DDoS attacks have affected numerous websites over last few months. The recent massive DDoS attack on Dyn’s DNS servers, a 1.2 Tbps attack, knocked down popular sites like Amazon and Twitter. The attack was carried out by Mirai botnets that had infected smart devices like security cameras. Thus, it is mandatory to protect IoT and other critical infrastructure from IT threats. CEO Eugene Kaspersky guarantees that Kaspersky OS would protect devices, such as industrial control systems, SCADA or ICS, and IoTs, from cyber attacks.
Presently, the operating system has been deployed in routers manufactured by Russian outfit Kraftway, a company that sells into various industrial control system markets, including government, healthcare, and education. It is often compared to Cisco’s IOS and Huawei’s VRP operating systems.
More details about Kaspersky’s secure operating system are to come soon. Stay tuned!