Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Browser Rootkits

Rootkits, in general, are of extreme interest to me-- not because of what can be done with them (I can assume anything can be done with them and leave it at that), but because of where they can be run. In essence, a rootkit is the "not gate" of trustworthy computing. If a rootkit can get in the 'chain of trust' then the chain is not trustworthy.

Joanna Rutkowska has demonstrated the importance for some very low level controls in modern operating systems (and virtual machines).

'pdp' at GNUCitizen has a recent write-up of browser rootkits that is good-- it talks generally about the problem, not specifically. I would like to see him propose potential solutions to his concerns, though, which he has not yet done:
"As you can see, browser rootkits are probably the future of malware. In the wrong hands, browser technologies are power tool that can be used to keep unaware puppets on a string. I am planning to follow up this post with a more detailed example of how browser rootkits are developed and show some interesting functionalities which can enable attackers to go so deep, no other has ever been."
UPDATE: Joanna Rutkowska chimes in.

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