Operating systems are the basic underlying software on a computer that provides services and manages the resources of the system for user applications. Commonly used operating systems on PCs have fundamental architectural security problems which results in a major problem for privacy and security of private, organizational or even governmental data.
Research in secure operating systems exists for decades. But still, those principles are not transferred and integrated in standard operating systems for most devices, such as PCs or mobile phones. One reason for this lack of integration is because secure operating systems require a lot of work (strict design rules, formal specifications and proofs, etc.), which is very costly for standard systems. Hence, vendors do not want to have those costs and reject to incorporate well-known security concepts.
In one major line of work (during my PhD studies), I have analyzed how well-known security principles (such as the principle of a security kernel) can be integrated easily and efficiently (meaning with low cost) into operating systems for PCs and other main stream computing devices. Another line of my work was about exploring new technologies that can be integrated into operating system to provide new security functions. You can also read more about this in my section on Trusted Computing.