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July 13-17, 2009

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Sandboxer: Light-Weight Application Isolation in Mobile Internet Devices

Michael Leibowitz (michael.leibowitz@intel.com)

In this paper, we introduce sandboxer, an application isolation mechanism for Moblin based Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). MIDs are expected to support the "open but secure" device model where end users are expected to download applications from potentially malicious sources. Sandboxer allows us to safely construct a system that is similar to the conventional *NIX desktop, but with the assumption that applications are malicious. Sandboxer uses a combination of filesystem namespace isolation, which provide a secure chroot like jail; UID/GID separation, which provide IPC isolation; and cgroups based resource controllers, which provide access control to devices as well as dynamic limits on resources. By combining these facilities, we are able to provide sufficient protection to the user and system from both compromised applications that have been subverted as well as malicious applications while maintaining a very similar environment to the traditional *NIX desktop. The mechanism also provides facility for applications to hide the local data from rest of the applications running in their own sandboxes.



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