The ISRG wants to make the Linux kernel memory-safe with Rust

Enlarge / no, not The some kind of rust.

The Internet Security Research Group – parent organization of the better-known Let’s Encrypt project – has the prominent developer Miguel Ojeda a one-year contract to work on Rust on Linux and other security efforts on a full-time basis.

What is a Rust for Linux?

As we discussed in March, Rust is a low-level programming language that more securely does most of the flexibility and performance of C – the language used for kernels in Unix and Unix-like operating systems since the 1970s offers.

Efforts to make Rust a viable language for Linux kernel development began at the Linux Plumbers Conference 2020, with the idea adopted by Linus Torvalds himself. Torvalds specifically asked for the Rust compiler to be available in the standard kernel build environment to support such efforts – not to replace all of the Linux kernel source code with Rust-developed equivalents, but to ensure that the redevelopment works properly to enable.

Using Rust for new code in the kernel – which could potentially mean new hardware drivers or even the replacement of GNU Coreutils – may reduce the number of bugs lurking in the kernel. Rust simply won’t allow a developer to lose memory or create the potential for buffer overflows – major sources of performance and security problems in complex C code.

Google, the ISRG and Ojeda

The new contract from the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) gives Ojeda a full-time paycheck to continue the memory security work he had already done part-time. ISRG Executive Director Josh Aas notes that the group has worked closely with Google engineer Dan Lorenc and that funding from Google itself is critical to furthering the ongoing work of Ojeda.

“Efforts to eliminate entire classes of security problems are the best large-scale investments,” said Lorenc, adding that Google is “excited” [help] the ISRG support the work of Miguel Ojeda, who is dedicated to improving the memory security of the kernel for everyone. “

Prossimo and storage security

Ojeda’s work is the first project sponsored under the ISRG’s Prossimo banner, but it’s not the first step the organization has taken to improve storage security. Previous initiatives include a secure storage TLS module for the Apache web server, a secure storage version of the Curls Data transfer utility and, rustles—A storage-safe alternative to the ubiquitous OpenSSL network encryption library.

You can find the Prossimo initiatives at Memory, along with donation links – the ISRG and its Prossimo projects are 100 percent supported by charitable donations from both individuals and non-profit organizations. If you want to get involved, the ISRG accepts direct currency donate via PayPal or Donorbox, various cryptocurrencies and even securities or shares in investment funds.

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