From Desktops to Donuts: Object-Caps Across Scales
July 26, 2006
Visiting Scholar Hewlett-Packard Laboratories
Mr. Stiegler is the developer of CapDesk, a graphical desktop system invulnerable to traditional computer viruses that first explored the secure cooperation concepts now being used by the Polaris secure desktop system for Windows XP.
In this last presentation in our series on the Authorization Based Access Control (ABAC) school of thought, we start with an object-capability desktop, CapDesk. CapDesk yields better security, greater functionality, and superior ease of use, all at the same time (and was the original development platform for the ideas that inspired Polaris, demonstrated earlier in this series).
Scaling out from the desktop to include basic Internet connectivity, we then look at how a CapDesk interacts with the network using the DarpaBrowser. In the DarpaBrowser, object-capability confinement mitigates the need for the ever-popular "critical security patch update" that now plagues all web browser technologies. The same object-capability infrastructure that makes the browser breach-resistant also enables the browser to launch web-based applications with functionality still not achievable with AJAX.