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Assessing the Tux Strength: Part 1 - Userspace Memory Protection

Sep 08, 2010, 17:03 (1 Talkback[s])

"This is a first of a series of articles describing different security mechanisms and exploitation mitigation techniques available in Linux environments and their use across various Linux distributions. This article focuses solely on userspace protections. Subsequent articles will focus on specific software such as web browsers or network daemons and their security exposure as well as additional kernel security mechanisms and frameworks that are available.

"Memory corruption attacks are still a very common way to compromise a modern computer system. However, the once basic techniques of buffer overflows have evolved into more sophisticated memory corruption attacks and at the same time the mechanisms to protect the integrity of processes and system memory has also improved.

"Probably every attack mitigation technique that has been developed over time to mitigate memory corruption exploits can be implemented and used in one form or another in a Linux operating system. Many people argue that some of the protection mechanisms are more effective than others, for example by mitigating against a larger number of different attacks. Furthermore, a number of them arguably have a performance impact on the system and could also produce some challenges in terms of compilation of the specific software as well as in ensuring compatibility with the rest of the system."

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