Thinking Security: MCP Express

 Author(s): , Posted on May 12th, 2016

This is the 16th blog in a series about security and how security is about how you think.

This is a special entry about the recently released product of ClearPath MCP software.

A milestone event happened on March 30, 2016. Unisys released the first version of MCP Express, a software package which provides a version of the MCP operating system and environment that can be downloaded FOR FREE. It is targeted for people in educational environments and hobbyists who want to look at and learn about the MCP environment.

Why is this important?

It is important because now everyone can work with a world-class SECURE operating system. Educators, students, people who are interested in examining operating systems and the environments that they provide can now “get their hands on” one of the world’s premier operating systems.

Recently, I had the opportunity to integrate an assignment about secure operating systems into my graduate operating systems course at Drexel University. Throughout the class, we discuss many concepts about operating systems – processes, threads, virtual memory, file systems, inter-process communications and other topics. At the end of the course, we examine case studies (various operating systems that are interesting and illustrate concepts discussed in the course) to provide concrete details about the concepts which have been discussed.

This year, the students did an assignment that asked them to compare a commodity operating system (in this case, Debian Linux) with the ClearPath MCP operating system. They compared the two environments in various areas – local data and access (“what is a pointer?”), parameter passing with procedures, codefile permissions, and file systems. Through each part of the assignment, students learned security implications in each area and why the ClearPath MCP operating system defines the concept of a secure mission-critical operating system.

At the end of the assignment, the students clearly recognized why the ClearPath MCP operating system is world-class. The fact that security is “built in” rather than up to the user to add to it (install anti-virus, malware, etc.) really resonated with the students. The assignment caused the students to think differently about operating systems and their security.

MCP Express is a new mechanism to help others learn about “thinking security” – it can be used to clearly demonstrate how a world-class operating system provides security by default. And now there are some Drexel students who are thinking security.

For more details or to download your own copy of MCP Express, visit ClearPath MCP Express.

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About the Author

Mike Kain is a consulting engineer and security architect for the ClearPath MCP environment and has held various technical leadership positions during his 30 years of experience at Unisys. Read all Posts





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