[Security_sig] Trusted Linux?

Stephen Smalley sds at epoch.ncsc.mil
Fri Oct 22 13:43:12 PDT 2004

On Fri, 2004-10-22 at 16:17, slav at vogon.net wrote:
> Came across an interesting article
> (http://news.com.com/FBI+supplier+readies+secure+Linux/2100-7344_3-5419212.html?tag=nefd.top)
> about development of "Trusted Linux" by Trusted Computer Solutions, which
> is an extension of NSA's SELinux.  I would be curious to learn more on
> what in SELinux was deemed a shortcoming for TCS to justify going out and
> building yet another "secure Linux".  Stephen, can you speak to this at
> all?

They are fleshing out the latent MLS support in SELinux.  As I mentioned
in another posting here, our focus was on getting the flexible MAC
architecture of SELinux into mainstream operating systems, so we put our
priority on security models that are more widely applicable, i.e. RBAC
and TE, rather than on the MLS model (but note that the RBAC/TE model
also benefit MLS users).  The SELinux architecture is capable of
supporting MLS, and there is an optional MLS policy component included
with SELinux today, but further work is required to truly provide a
functional MLS Linux, and that is what TCS is doing.  They haven't been
secretive about it; they have posted publically to the NSA selinux list,
submitted patches back for inclusion in the upstream SELinux, etc. 
Their goal seems to be to provide a platform that is functionally
equivalent to Trusted Solaris so that they have an alternative platform
for their applications, as noted in that article.

Stephen Smalley <sds at epoch.ncsc.mil>
National Security Agency

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