Volume 7 Number 9 (Sep. 2012)
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JSW 2012 Vol.7(9): 2107-2118 ISSN: 1796-217X
doi: 10.4304/jsw.7.9.2107-2118

A Hardware Virtualization Based Component Sandboxing Architecture

Nuwan Goonasekera, William Caelli and Colin Fidge
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Abstract—Modern applications comprise multiple components, such as browser plug-ins, often of unknown provenance and quality. Statistics show that failure of such components accounts for a high percentage of software faults. Enabling isolation of such fine-grained components is therefore necessary to increase the robustness and resilience of security-critical and safety-critical computer systems. In this paper, we evaluate whether such fine-grained components can be sandboxed through the use of the hardware virtualization support available in modern Intel and AMD processors. We compare the performance and functionality of such an approach to two previous software based approaches. The results demonstrate that hardware isolation minimizes the difficulties encountered with software based approaches, while also reducing the size of the trusted computing base, thus increasing confidence in the solution’s correctness. We also show that our relatively simple implementation has equivalent run-time performance, with overheads of less than 34%, does not require custom tool chains and provides enhanced functionality over software-only approaches, confirming that hardware virtualization technology is a viable mechanism for fine-grained component isolation.

Index Terms—component isolation, system call interpositioning, hardware virtualization, component software


Cite: Nuwan Goonasekera, William Caelli and Colin Fidge, "A Hardware Virtualization Based Component Sandboxing Architecture," Journal of Software vol. 7, no. 9, pp. 2107-2118, 2012.

General Information

ISSN: 1796-217X (Online)
Frequency:  Bimonthly 
Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Antanas Verikas
Executive Editor: Ms. Yoyo Y. Zhou
Abstracting/ Indexing: DBLP, EBSCO, CNKIGoogle Scholar, ProQuest, INSPEC(IET), ULRICH's Periodicals Directory, WorldCat, etc
E-mail: jsw@iap.org
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