The processes in an operating system must be protected from one another's activities. To provide such protection, we can use various mechanisms to ensure that only processes that have gained proper authorization from the operating system can operate on the files, memory segments, CPU, and other resources of a system.

Protection refers to a mechanism for controlling the access of programs, processes, or users to the resources defined by a computer system. This mechanism must provide a means for specifying the controls to be imposed, together with a means of enforcement. We distinguish between protection and security, which is a measure of confidence that the integrity of a system and its data will be preserved. In this chapter, we focus on protection. Security assurance is a much broader topic, and we address it in Chapter 14.


  • To discuss the goals and principles of protection in a modern computer system.
  • To explain how protection domains, combined with an access matrix, are used to specify the resources a process may access.
  • To examine capability- and language-based protection systems.

13.1 Goals of Protection

As computer systems have become more sophisticated and pervasive in their applications, the need to protect their integrity has also grown. Protection was originally conceived as an adjunct to multiprogramming operating systems, so that untrustworthy ...

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