Kaspersky Labs has taken it upon itself to protect the world’s most critical infrastructure from viruses and cyberattacks, by creating its own malware-proof operating system.
Eugene Kaspersky says in a blog post that the new OS will be designed to protect key information for the world’s most critical industries, such as transportation control centers, telecommunication systems, nuclear power stations, and various other “important installations”.
Up until now, the project has been kept top secret, but with rumors of the new OS just beginning to surface, Kaspersky wrote that “it’s time to lift the curtain (a little) on our secret project”.
Kaspersky Lab’s OS will be “developed for solving specific, narrow tasks,” wrote Kaspersky. One thing the operating system won’t be for is “playing Half-Life, editing your vacation photos, or blathering on social media,” he added.
Kaspersky said that the OS was designed to be almost impenetrable, and would certainly be able to protect critical systems from behind-the-scenes or undeclared activities that can help hackers to infiltrate them. He then cited a recent incident in Australia, in which a hacker who failed to land a job with a sewage firm managed to hack into its network and flood an area of Queensland with raw sewage. Officials were left perplexed by the incident for months afterwards.
Hackers will be unable to access the new OS, because Kaspersky plans to make it impossible to execute third-party code, run unauthorized applications or break into the system in any way. Kaspersky insists that this is both “provable and testable” in his blog post.
Naturally, the security firm shied away from providing too many details about its OS. With Kaspersky being involved in talks with a variety of vendors and industrial control system operators, the inner workings of its OS must necessarily remain secret. In addition, Kaspersky naturally wants to prevent rival security firms from jumping in and stealing its ideas.
So what’s the likelihood of Kaspersky’s OS really being able to save the world?
Given the recent claims made by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that foreign aggressors were already waging war against the US, and could potentially target the nation’s water supplies or transport infrastructure, Kaspersky’s ‘impenetrable’ OS could be well received by US organizations looking to bolster their system’s security.
But then again, what with the escalating paranoia over Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, and the supposed ‘security threat’ that these companies pose to US companies, one has to wonder if these same US organizations and political chiefs will trust a RUSSIAN company anymore than the Chinese?
No matter how secure Kaspersky’s OS ends up being, it’s likely that the company will have to work very hard to win the trust of those its hoping to sell its operating system to.