Thursday, September 13, 2007

Impregnable Security in Concurrent Reactive Systems

The Security Problem

Government agencies, public and private corporations, and organizations of all sorts have legitimate reasons to protect their private information from prying malevolent eyes. This is a serious problem. A week does not go by without some report in the media about a new virus, worm, ID theft, break-in or other nefarious act perpetrated against computer users. In a previous article on the importance of timing in programming, I wrote that the temporal signature of a concurrent reactive system is guaranteed to remain fixed during the lifetime of the system. The reason is that the timing or temporal order of reactions in such a system is deterministic. This charateristic of concurrent reactive system can be used to great advantage in the battle against unreliability and malware.

Temporal Signature

How can reactive concurrent systems be used to secure a system against viruses, key loggers, spyware, intruders, worms and other malicious programs? Well, deterministic timing means that a program or operating system based on the COSA software model has a certain fixed temporal signature. A number of timing watchdogs can be inserted in a COSA system that will trigger an alarm as soon as the slightest change in the system’s temporal signature is detected. There is no way that someone can surreptitiously insert a spying program into a COSA system without changing its temporal signature and triggering an alarm. This is one more advantage of the COSA model, rock solid security. I just added it to the list of claims I am making for COSA. Check out the COSA Pitch for more.

1 comment:

Native Call said...

I agree. Let's do away with all that silly on-chip caching.