Unikernels; what are they and what are the security implications?

Speaker: Per Buer


Unikernels have come up as a topic the last couple of years as an alternative platform to our beloved Unix operating systems. The talk will introduce the concepts and explain why there are some compelling reasons for the concept and how they can be leveraged.

In a unikernel you compile the operating system into the application, merging them into one single entity. This reduces the footprint and improves performance.

Currently, all unikernels run with root privileges and this creates interesting questions around security. Can we trust systems like this? Can they be hacked? If so, how? Most concrete examples will be from IncludeOS, a C++ unikernel.


Per Buer is the co-founder and CEO of IncludeOS, a performance and security-focused unikernel. He has previously founded the company Varnish Software and has worked about 10 years as a sysadmin before that.

Twitter: @perbu

najaar 2017

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