PGP working with NSA on SELinux

A division of PGP Security has entered into a partnership with the super-secret U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and other partners to further develop the NSA's Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) prototype, PGP Security announced in a release on Monday.

Under a US$1.2 million 2-year contract the NAI Labs division of PGP Security, a business unit of antivirus vendor Network Associates Inc., will focus on research and development to improve the security of open-source operating system platforms, particularly Linux, PGP Security said.

The contract builds on NSA's prior work in developing a set of new security controls for the Linux kernel and NAI Labs' prior work in developing a basic security policy configuration for these security controls and several additional kernel controls.

The goal of the research is to reduce the threat of security breaches caused by flawed applications or malicious code. Linux was chosen by the NSA because its open-development environment provided an opportunity to demonstrate that the security functionality added by SELinux can be successful in a mainstream operating system. NAI Labs will work with the NSA and its other partners to develop additional security controls, configure the security policy and present the security enhancements to the Linux community. SELinux includes security enhancements to the operating system that can enforce the separation of information based on the confidentiality and integrity requirements.

In a separate announcement on Monday, NAI Labs said it has won a $2.4 million 3-year contract from the U.S. Navy's Space and Warfare Systems Command to develop attribute-based access control (ABAC) for distributed computing systems.

ABAC will allow a system to authorize access based on user attributes such as credit limit, job title, spending authority, employer, military rank, or other criteria. The military needs such systems, particularly when soldiers are involved in international coalitions, joint humanitarian and peacekeeping missions that require complex resource sharing requirements.

The work will be funded under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Dynamic Coalitions Program. The goal will be to develop technologies that enable secure collaboration within groups while minimizing potential threats from compromised partners and external attackers.

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