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Separation Kernel Hypervisor

LynxSecure is a simple and elegant platform technology that controls hardware resources according to an intuitive information flow modeling language. It is the foundation of the LYNX MOSA.ic™ framework and was designed to satisfy real-time, high assurance computing requirements used to regulate military and industrial computing environments, such as NIST, NSA Common Criteria, and NERC CIP.

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Lynx Director of Product Management Dave Beal discusses the unique architecture and benefits of LynxSecure with VP Marketing Ian Ferguson.




LynxSecure Diagram



Application dependencies on centralized operating system (OS) abstraction layers—data services and hardware control—make it very difficult to formally verify the security properties of a software system.

Rather than attempting to shape system behavior indirectly by issuing commands to platform APIs according to a programming manual, LynxSecure allows developers to directly control system behavior through a unique system architecture specification written by the developer and enforced solely by the processor.

LynxSecure is available for Arm, PowerPC and x86 architectures, running directly on the platform to separate hardware resources into virtual machines used to host software, including:

•  Traditional general-purpose OSes (Linux, Windows)
•  Fully featured or simple scheduler-like RTOSes
•  FreeRTOS support
•  Enhanced bare-metal applications (Lynx Simple Applications)
•  LynxElement®, the industry's first commercial unikernel 


The separation kernel concept enforces a simpler distributed application runtime model on a processor by way of provably separating processor-controlled resources, such that independent applications execute on their own allocation of resources. With such a platform technology in place, the security properties of a software system can be verified by tracing system actors' data access and information flows directly to the physical allocation of resources:

Distributed vs Centralized Architectures-1

Simply put, LynxSecure harnesses all of the functionality in the underlying platform, such as hardware virtualization, to ensure that each virtual machine will run independent and free of interference—from power on until power off. Additionally, LynxSecure offers advanced resource scheduling and security controls that exceed traditional operating systems and microkernel offerings. These LynxSecure tunables allow developers to explicitly define how a computer platform executes with traceable evidence from specification to instantiation, establishing platform integrity for design patterns that include:

•  Safety and security domain isolation
•  Trusted execution environments
•  Reference monitor plugins such as firewalls and encryption

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