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'fabric' Would Tighten the Weave of Online Security

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Cornell University professors Fred Schneider and Andrew Myers are developing a way to incorporate security into the programming language used to write computer programs, so that systems are protected from the beginning. Until now, computer security has been reactive, Schneider says. "Our defenses improve only after they have been successfully penetrated," he says.

Fabric nodes Computer network nodes in Fabric pass around objects that contain data and program code, but the objects have built-inrules about what each node can do with them. The Fabric lan-guage requires programmers to include these rules and savesthem the work of writing code to enforce them.Credit: Andrew Myers / Cornell University
Schneider and Myers developed Fabric, a computer platform that replaces multiple existing layers with a simpler programming interface that makes security reasoning more direct. Fabric is designed to create secure systems for distributed computing, such as systems that move money around or control medical records. Fabric's programming language, which is based on Java, builds in security as the program is written.

Myers says most of what Fabric does is transparent to the programmer. "I think we can make life simpler and improve performance," he says.

From Cornell Chronicle
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