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Fault isolation for device drivers

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5 Author(s)
Jorrit N. Herder ; Dept. of Computer Science, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands ; Herbert Bos ; Ben Gras ; Philip Homburg
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This work explores the principles and practice of isolating low-level device drivers in order to improve OS dependability. In particular, we explore the operations drivers can perform and how fault propagation in the event a bug is triggered can be prevented. We have prototyped our ideas in an open-source multiserver OS (MINIX 3) that isolates drivers by strictly enforcing least authority and iteratively refined our isolation techniques using a pragmatic approach based on extensive software-implemented fault-injection (SWIFI) testing. In the end, out of 3,400,000 common faults injected randomly into 4 different Ethernet drivers using both programmed I/O and DMA, no fault was able to break our protection mechanisms and crash the OS. In total, we experienced only one hang, but this appears to be caused by buggy hardware.

Published in:

2009 IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems & Networks

Date of Conference:

June 29 2009-July 2 2009