New FreeBSD Foundation funded project: Capsicum improvements

The FreeBSD Foundation has announced that Pawel Jakub Dawidek has been awarded a grant to develop a comprehensive userspace framework for writing Capsicum-based applications, building on the kernel features originally developed by the University of Cambridge and Google Research. Pawel was rewarded grants previously for the HAST and auditdistd projects.

This framework will include a Capsicum runtime linker and component library providing sandboxed versions of key higher-level system libraries. Components will both be sandboxed, improving resistance to vulnerabilities, and also easily available for delegation to sandboxed applications, such as the Chromium web browser. The prototype libcapsicum developed by Cambridge will be analyzed and updated based on lessons learned in implementing Capsicumised software packages, such as hastd and auditdistd. Funding for this project will be provided by the FreeBSD Foundation matched 100% by the Google Open Source Program Office, in support of open source technology transition of Capsicum.

“A continuing challenge in security is to find solutions that not only fix the problems but also can be applied to existing technologies: attractive though the notion is, we are not going to persuade the world to rewrite everything! This is why we at Google are pleased and excited to support the continuing development of Capsicum, which radically improves the security of UNIX based systems whilst allowing a continuous migration path from today’s mechanisms to tomorrow’s,”

said Ben Laurie, Google Senior Staff Software Engineer.

“I’m very excited to be able to work on Capsicum. Some of my software is already using Capsicum, so I’m fully aware of the great potential of this framework. This technology is so much superior than the current attempts to provide sandboxing using tools like chroot(2) or unprivileged user credentials. No matter how corny it sounds, I strongly believe Capsicum can make the Internet a safer place.”

said Pawel.

This project will conclude in August, 2012

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