Toward a Medium-Robustness Separation Kernel Protection Profile

Rance DeLong
Santa Clara University

Thuy Nguyen
Naval Postgraduate School

Cynthia Irvine
Naval Postgraduate School

Timothy Levin
Naval Postgraduate School

A protection profile for high-robustness separation kernels is undergoing evaluation and
several implementations are under development. However, medium-robustness separation kernel
development efforts have no protection profile, although the US Government has published
guidance for authoring such a profile.
As a step toward a protection profile a set of guideline security requirements for mediumrobustness
separation kernels is proposed. These requirements are the result of a principled
informal approach. By bracketing the problem with appropriate reference points and elaborating
a method for interpolating the requirements both a measure of uniformity and a basis for further
discussion are achieved. Our reference points include the high robustness protection profile, the
existing medium robustness consistency instruction, and our familiarity with the nuances of
separation kernels.
This practitioner-oriented study is intended to advance the prevailing practices for commercial
software development, which presently falls far short of the rigor needed for either
high-robustness or medium robustness systems. These requirements represent an incremental
improvement in the pursuit of good software — and is intended to be a step forward on the
road to higher assurance.

Keywords: medium robustness separation kernel protection profile

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