Sun’s Trusted Solaris 10 Coming This Year

SAN FRANCISCO — 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 run-time 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

“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 underway, 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.”

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