The most widely deployed mobile virtualization solution
April 14, 2008
Open Kernel Labs Secure HyperCell technology in OKL4 2.0 open source microkernel helps minimize threats to mobile devices from buggy drivers and malicious applications
CHICAGO – April 14, 2008 – Open Kernel Labs (Open Kernel Labs), a global provider of systems software and virtualization technology for embedded systems, today announced the new version of its open source microkernel software, OKL4 2.0 tackles the security and reliability challenges embedded developers face in creating enterprise-safe connected devices for end users, carriers and enterprises. The Open Kernel Labs microkernel-based OKL4 2.0 virtualization and system-software platform is the first to offer Secure HyperCell™ technology, which provides a secure environment for operating systems, applications and drivers on mobile devices. OKL4 enables developers to address the threat of malware, hackers and poorly-behaved code that increasingly jeopardize end users, carriers and enterprises of all sizes.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) Wireless Phone Data and Entertainment Services study, 40 percent of American adults plan to purchase a new wireless handset within the year. In addition, CEA estimates that smartphone factory-to-dealer sales will exceed $8 billion in 2008, making it one of the fastest-growing markets for embedded devices. With this growth come new security and reliability issues for end users, carriers and enterprises. If these challenges are not taken into consideration in the overall design and architecture, then safe and secure operation of the entire network will be jeopardized by faults and attacks.
"OKL4’s capability-based security can prevent data leakage by untrusted code," said Steve Subar, president and CEO, Open Kernel Labs. "With increasing amounts of personal information on handsets, preventing identity theft through mobile viruses is paramount."
Using OKL4 as a trusted platform, developers of smart, connected devices can make their products enterprise-safe by encapsulating critical components into individual Secure HyperCells. A Secure HyperCell protects its contents from the rest of the system and from unwanted communication with other cells, making it possible to add functionality incrementally, without undermining the security of the existing system. This unprecedented level of security is achieved by implementing multiple secure cells, operating in user mode, under the control of a hypervisor that operates in privileged mode, which allows the development and configuration of a system running in completely virtualized yet protected spaces without requiring access to privileged mode at any point.
With OKL4, developers can add new functionality while keeping the entire system enterprise-safe. This helps end users meet the requirements needed to connect easily and to use their device in any setting including personal and work environments.
"Mobile devices are demanding higher levels of performance and functionality as users increasingly rely on wireless connectivity and networking capabilities on their mobile phones," said Stephen Balacco, Director, Embedded Software Practice, Venture Development Corporation. "This brings with it new needs for security and reliability in these devices to address consumer, carrier and corporate demands."
With carriers such as Verizon and AT&T announcing that they are opening their networks to out-of-network handsets, developers need to design smart, connected devices that are secure and reliable enough to protect consumers, carriers and enterprises. OKL4 provides a trustworthy environment where applications and operating systems are secure and protected, enabling developers to alleviate the risk of out-of-network devices for end users, carriers and enterprises.
By using the Secure HyperCell technology found in OKL4, developers of mobile devices can integrate multiple functions, OSes or applications into a single processor platform, while protecting core device functionality from compromise. OKL4 features capability-based security, which enables the fine-grained control of access rights that underpins Secure HyperCell technology. Secure HyperCell™ technology encapsulates and isolates individual applications, device drivers, critical services or complete OSes, preventing any interaction unless explicitly authorized. This can be used to contain the damage from faults or security compromises and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the system.
OKL4 2.0, available under an open source or a commercial license, is now shipping and is available for download, general use, evaluation and prototyping. In addition, Open Kernel Labs offers professional services including customization, processor architecture porting and training for OKL4 supporting ARM, x86 and MIPS processors. For more information or to download software, visit www.ok-labs.com. For those interested in learning more about the technology, understanding use cases and to get answers to specific questions, developers can join the Open Kernel Labs Technical Community Mailing List.
The Open Kernel Labs leading technology in embedded systems software and virtualization enables the development of safe, trustworthy and affordable devices. Backed by the largest, independent team of microkernel developers, Open Kernel Labs delivers OKL4, an advanced microkernel solution, which offers the highest performance combined with strong protection and security features. OKL4 provides developers with a robust, open source platform for building secure, differentiated embedded applications. For more information about Open Kernel Labs and its products visit www.ok-labs.com. Open Kernel Labs is a spin out from NICTA, Australia’s preeminent Center of Excellence for information and communications technology, www.nicta.com.au.
Open Kernel Labs, Open Kernel Labs and Secure HyperCell are trademarks or registered trademarks of Open Kernel Labs or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Connect Public Relations
Open Kernel Labs