Architectural Support for Containment-based Security [abstract] (PDF)
Hansen Zhang, Soumyadeep Ghosh, Jordan Fix, Sotiris Apostolakis, Stephen R. Beard, Nayana P. Nagendra, Taewook Oh, and David I. August
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, manufacture, deployment, and operation. Recognizing that external communication represents one of the greatest threats to a system’s security, this paper introduces the TrustGuard containment architecture. TrustGuard contains malicious and erroneous behavior using a relatively simple and pluggable gatekeeping hardware component called the Sentry. The Sentry bridges a physical gap between the untrusted system and its external interfaces. TrustGuard allows only communication that results from the 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 additional measures to secure this root of trust, including formal verification, supervised manufacture, and supply chain diversification with less than a 15% impact on performance.