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The advent of e-commerce and the rapid expansion of world-wide connectivity demands end-user systems that can guarantee authenticity, integrity, privacy, anonymity, and availability.  While cryptographic and security research communities have provided solutions to a variety of security related problems, all these solutions depend upon the security of the underlying computing platform.

Existing computing platforms are not able to fulfil the multilateral security requirements of all involved parties, i.e., companies, end-users, and content providers. Additionally, they suffer from several vulnerabilities in hardware and software: beside architectural security problems and the inherent vulnerabilities resulting from complexity, common operating systems require careful and competent system administration and will still not effectively protect individuals from executing malicious code. This can be seen by the huge number of exploits and security updates as well as the high number of attacks through viruses, worms and Trojan horses. Furthermore, the security of existing computing platforms could not be vitally improved in the last years due to the conceptual weaknesses, e.g., their monolithic architecture and thus the increased complexity. This pertains Windows-based operating systems as well as Linux-based ones.