Front Page

The Liberty Research Group

Architectural Support for Containment-based Security [abstract]
Hansen Zhang, Soumyadeep Ghosh, Jordan Fix, Sotiris Apostolakis, Stephen R. Beard, Nayana P. Nagendra, Taewook Oh, and David I. August
To Appear: Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS), April 2019.

Software security techniques rely on correct execution by the hardware. Securing hardware components has been challenging due to their complexity and the proportionate attack surface they present during their design, manufacturing, deployment, and operation. Recognizing that external communication represents one of the greatest threats to a system’s security, this paper introduces the TrustGuard architecture, centered on a relatively simple and pluggable gatekeeping component, called the Sentry. In TrustGuard, the Sentry bridges a physical gap between the untrusted system and its external interfaces. TrustGuard allows only communication resulting from correct execution of trusted software, thereby preventing the ill effects of actions by malicious hardware or software from leaving the system. The simplicity and pluggability of the Sentry, which is implemented in less than half the lines of code of a simple in order processor, enables suppliers and consumers to take additional measures to secure this root of trust, including formal verification, supervised manufacture, and supply chain diversification with less than 10% impact on performance.