A project that began in 2001 to create a more secure Chinese operating system landed in the news last week, after a consultant called the software a danger to the United States' ability to conduct cyber operations against China.
In a statement (pdf) before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, consultant Kevin Coleman characterized the Kylin operating system as a technology that could give China the upper hand in the race to use cyberspace for national ends.
"This race was intensified when China created Kylin, their own hardened server operating system and began to convert their systems back in 2007," Coleman, a senior fellow at Technolytics, "This action also made our offensive cyber capabilities ineffective against them given the cyber weapons were designed to be used against Linux, UNIX and Windows."
The statement formed the core of a May 12th story in the Washington Times that warned of the development. Within a day, however, researchers had already turned up research refuting the assertions. Open-source analyst Jonathan D. Abolins found a translated press release in the PLA Daily indicating that the operating system was part of a project to create advanced homegrown technologies, but most -- more than 99 percent -- of the code is copied from FreeBSD, according to the Info Warfare Monitor.
China is not the only country to work on a more secure operating system. The National Security Agency has worked with researchers to produce Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux), a locked-down version of the operating system for sensitive applications.
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Posted by: Robert Lemos