By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service
June 15, 2007
Red Hat Linux has received a new level of security certification that
should make the software more appealing to some government agencies.
Last week IBM Corp. was able to achieve EAL4 Augmented with ALC_FLR.3
certification for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, putting it on a par with Sun
Microsystems Inc.'s Trusted Solaris operating system, said Dan Frye,
vice president of open systems with IBM.
"This is the highest level of security function that anybody has," Frye
said. "We have delivered LSPP functionality in Red Hat Enterprise Linux
5 and we have certified that at the EAL4 level of assurance."
This rating is awarded by the government-funded National Information
Assurance Partnership's (NIAP) Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation
Scheme for IT Security program, which evaluates the security of
commercial technology products.
Red Hat Linux has been certified EAL4 Augmented with ALC_FLR.3 on IBM's
mainframe, System x, System p5 and eServer systems.
This level of security certification is not usually required for
enterprise contracts, but it is mandatory for some programs within
government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S.
National Security Agency, Frye said.
Linux had already been certified at the EAL4 level, but this is the
first time that the operating system has received the Labeled Security
Protection Profile (LSPP) certification, which relates to its
Linux developers have been working to add these "SE Linux" access
control features into the operating system for several years now. SE
Linux shipped as part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, and now it has been
certified for government use, Frye said. "You now have a level of
fine-grained control for everybody," he added. "You can set security
based on groups or based on individuals."
In addition to LSPP Red Hat Linux has also been certified with Role
Based Access Control Protection (RBAC), and that too is noteworthy, said
Red Hat Inc.
"Historically, OS vendors have required you buy a separate branched OS
to get something that is LSPP and RBAC certified," the company said in a
statement. "This is something completely unique for commercial operating
systems because the support for multilevel security is native to the
According to Frye, the certification is "big news for the Linux
industry" because it shows that open-source software can be used for
sensitive computing tasks. "If anyone had any doubts that you could do
this with an open-source operating system, we've proved them wrong."
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