SAFE: A Clean-Slate Architecture for Secure Systems

By Silviu Chiricescu, André DeHon, Delphine Demange, Suraj Iyer, Aleksey Kliger, Greg Morrisett, Benjamin C. Pierce, Howard Reubenstein, Jonathan M. Smith, Gregory T. Sullivan, Arun Thomas, Jesse Tov, Christopher M. White, David Wittenberg
Date: November 13, 2013

Presented at the IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security (HST), November 2013, Waltham, MA USA.

SAFE is a large-scale, clean-slate co-design project encompassing hardware architecture, programming languages,and operating systems. Funded by DARPA, the goal of SAFE is to create a secure computing system from the ground up. SAFE hardware provides memory safety, dynamic type checking,and native support for dynamic information flow control. The Breeze programming language leverages the security features of the underlying machine, and the “zero kernel” operating system avoids relying on any single privileged component for overall system security. The SAFE project is working towards formally verifying security properties of the runtime software. The SAFE system sets a new high-water mark for system security, allowing secure applications to be built on a solid foundation rather than on the inherently vulnerable conventional platforms available today.