Poly2 Paradigm: A Secure Network Service Architecture

Eric Bryant, James Early, Rajeev Gopalakrishna, Gregory Roth, Eugene Spafford, Keith Watson, Paul Williams and Scott Yost
Purdue University

General-purpose operating systems provide a rich computing environment both to the user and the attacker. The declining cost of hardware and the growing security concerns of software necessitate a revalidation of the many assumptions made in network service architectures. Enforcing sound design principles while retaining usability and flexibility is the key to practical security. Poly2 is an approach to build a hardened framework for network services from commodity hardware and software. Guided by well-known security design principles such as least common mechanism and economy of mechanism, and driven by goals such as psychological acceptability and immediate usability, Poly2 provides a secure platform for network services. It also serves as a testbed for several security-related research areas such as intrusion detection, forensics, and high availability. This paper discusses the overall design and philosophy of Poly2, presents an initial implementation, and outlines future work.

Keywords: network security, hardened systems, security design principles

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