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Active Networks are a network infrastructure which is programmable on a per-user or even per-packet basis. Increasing the flexibility of such network infrastructures invites new security risks. Coping with these security risks represents the most fundamental contribution of Active Network research. The security concerns can be divided into those which affect the network as a whole and those which affect individual elements. It is clear that the element problems must be solved first, as the integrity of network-level solutions will be based on trust of the network elements.
In this paper, we describe the architecture and implementation of a Secure Active Network Environment (SANE1), which we believe provides a basis for implementing secure network-level solutions. We guarantee that a node begins operation in a trusted state with the AEGIS secure bootstrap architecture. We guarantee that the system remains in a trusted state by applying dynamic integrity checks in the network element's run time system, a novel naming system, and applying node-node authentication when needed.
The SANE implementation is for x86 architectures, currently those running one of several varieties of UNIX.
D. Scott Alexander, William A. Arbaugh, Angelos D. Keromytis, and Jonathan M. Smith, "A Secure Active Network Environment Architecture", . January 1997.
Date Posted: 06 November 2006