Check out the new USENIX Web site.

Home About USENIX Events Membership Publications Students
USENIX 2003 Annual Technical Conference, FREENIX Track — Abstract
Pp. 273-284 of the Proceedings

Privman: A Library for Partitioning Applications

Douglas Kilpatrick, Network Associates Laboratories


Writing secure, trusted software for UNIX platforms is difficult. There are a number of approaches to enabling more secure development, but it is apparent that the current set of solutions are neither achieving acceptance nor having sufficient impact. In this paper, we introduce a library to address a particularly difficult problem in secure code development: partitioning processes to isolate privileges in trusted code.

Privilege separation is a technique that isolates trusted code, therefore reducing the amount of code that needs to be carefully audited. While the technique is not new, it is not widely used due to difficulties of implementation. We present Privman, a library that makes privilege separation easy. The primary benefit of the Privman library is a systematic, reusable framework and library for developing partitioned applications. We demonstrate the feasibility of the approach by applying it to two real systems, thttpd and WU-FTPD.

  • View the full text of this paper in HTML and PDF.
    Click here if you have forgotten your password Until June 2004, you will need your USENIX membership identification in order to access the full papers. The Proceedings are published as a collective work, © 2003 by the USENIX Association. All Rights Reserved. Rights to individual papers remain with the author or the author's employer. Permission is granted for the noncommercial reproduction of the complete work for educational or research purposes. USENIX acknowledges all trademarks within this paper.

  • If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.
To become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.

?Need help? Use our Contacts page.

Last changed: 7 Nov. 2003 jel
Technical Program
USENIX Annual Technical Conference 2003 Home