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New Bytecode Alliance Pledges Security Standards with WebAssembly

November the 12th, 2019 marks the launch of the Bytecode Alliance, an open-source community dedicated to creating new software foundations built on standards such as WebAssembly (WASM) and WebAssembly System Interface (WASI). Fastly joins Mozilla, Intel, and Red Hat as a founding member.

Modern software applications and services are built from global repositories of shared components and frameworks, which greatly accelerate creation of new and better multi-device experiences. However, this leaves trust, data integrity, and system vulnerability factors largely unaddressed. Designed to eliminate potentially dangerous features within execution semantics and sandboxed environments, WebAssembly is an answer to these gaps. Because WebAssembly allows developers to compile and run their code across many devices and platforms – in any language they prefer – it has gained popularity among organisations that value secure, performant, cross-platform and cross-device runtime.

“We’re in a pivotal era for the computing landscape as we face this large opportunity to create a more trustworthy, reliable internet of the future,” commented Tyler McMullen, CTO of Fastly. “Fastly has committed to the power of WebAssembly and WASI, and takes the Bytecode Alliance’s mission to bring stronger, more widely accessible software development standards to the world seriously. We’re thrilled to join forces with such capable stewards of this mission in our partners.”

Bytecode Alliance Takes WebAssembly Beyond the Browser

Through the collaborative contributions of technologies leveraging WebAssembly standards, the Bytecode Alliance will deliver a state-of-the-art multi-language runtime environment. As a result, security, efficiency, and modularity can coexist across the widest possible range of devices and architectures, so developers can innovate securely. To the Alliance, Fastly contributes Lucet, an ahead-of-time compiler and runtime for WebAssembly and WASI focused on low-latency, high-concurrency applications. Notably, Lucet also lays the foundation for Fastly’s just-launched Compute@Edge beta, its new language-agnostic compute environment.

Fellow founding members are making several open source project contributions to the Bytecode Alliance as well, including:

  • Wasmtime, a small and efficient runtime for WebAssembly and WASI.
  • WebAssembly Micro Runtime (WAMR), an interpreter-based WebAssembly runtime for embedded devices.
  • Cranelift, a cross-platform code generator with a focus on security and performance, written in Rust.

“WebAssembly is changing the web, but we believe WebAssembly can play an even bigger role in the software ecosystem as it continues to expand beyond browsers,” says Luke Wagner, Distinguished Engineer at Mozilla and co-creator of WebAssembly. “This is a unique moment in time at the dawn of a new technology, where we have the opportunity to fix what’s broken and build new, secure-by-default foundations for native development that are portable and scalable. But we need to take deliberate, cross-industry action to ensure this happens in the right way. Together with our partners in the Bytecode Alliance, Mozilla is building these new secure foundations – for everything from small, embedded devices to large, computing clouds.”

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