Security in Plan 9
by Russ Cox, Eric Grosse, Rob Pike, Dave Presotto, Sean Quinlan
The security architecture of the Plan 9 operating system has recently been redesigned to address some technical shortcomings. This redesign provided an opportunity also to make the system more conve­nient to use securely. Plan 9 has thus improved in two ways not usually seen together: it has become more secure and easier to use.

The central component of the new architecture is a per-user selfcontained agent called factotum. Factotum securely holds a copy of the user's keys and negotiates authentication protocols, on behalf of the user, with secure services around the network. Concentrating security code in a single program offers several advantages including: ease of update or repair to broken security software and protocols; the ability to run secure services at a lower privilege level; uniform management of keys for all services; and an opportunity to provide single sign on, even to unchanged legacy applications. Factotum has an unusual architec­ture: it is implemented as a Plan 9 file server.

Download the paper in PDF format here.


Pen-testing drone searches for unsecured devices

You're sitting in an office, and you send a print job to the main office printer. You see or hear a drone flying outside your window. Next thing you know, the printer buzzes to life and, after spitting out your print job, it continues to work and presents you with more filled pages than you expected.

Weekly newsletter

Reading our newsletter every Monday will keep you up-to-date with security news.

Daily digest

Receive a daily digest of the latest security news.

Fri, Oct 9th