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HardenedBSD, Boosting FreeBSD Security

The HardenedBSD project was created in 2014 by Oliver Pinter and Shawn Webb. The project aims to provide security enhancements to the FreeBSD project.

HardenedBSD isn’t a new BSD operating system but rather it’s working on being a security-enhanced version of FreeBSD. HardenedBSD is just about providing security enhancements on top of the FreeBSD code-base. This initiative just started this summer by Oliver Pinter and Shawn Webb.

There isn’t much to the HardenedBSD web-site up to this moment, besides their latest hardened builds based on FreeBSD. Ultimately though there might not be much to HardenedBSD if their work is successful as they hope to “upstream most, if not all, our projects” back into the FreeBSD code-base to improve its security. 

The HardenedBSD project is about enhancing FreeBSD’s security as it is being called as FreeBSD soldier, through adding many exploit mitigation technologies and up streaming those enhancements directly to the FreeBSD. You can think of HardenedBSD as more of a staging area for bleeding-edge development of exploit mitigation, hardening, and other security-related technologies for FreeBSD.

The project has a hint of Trusted Solaris roots that provided further security enhancements to the base operating system.  The enhancements paved the way for the introduction of these security features across a number of different operating systems that we all use today.

The HardenedBSD project was started originally with the latest build of the project being released on 17 August 2014 specifically focusing on Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR).  And once ASLR is feature complete and fully up streamed (including integration with the Ports tree), it can be done to port certain security features from the Grsecurity Linux kernel hardening patch. The holding page for the project is still quite sparse, with little information provided on what its detailed goals are.  However code base is hosted out of GitHub and would be the best place to visit if you wish to see what work is in progress.

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