Trusted execution: applications and verification

Batten, Ian Gilbert (2016). Trusted execution: applications and verification. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Useful security properties arise from sealing data to specific units of code. Modern processors featuring Intel’s TXT and AMD’s SVM achieve this by a process of measured and trusted execution. Only code which has the correct measurement can access the data, and this code runs in an environment trusted from observation and interference.

We discuss the history of attempts to provide security for hardware platforms, and review the literature in the field. We propose some applications which would benefit from use of trusted execution, and discuss functionality enabled by trusted execution. We present in more detail a novel variation on Diffie-Hellman key exchange which removes some reliance on random number generation.

We present a modelling language with primitives for trusted execution, along with its semantics. We characterise an attacker who has access to all the capabilities of the hardware. In order to achieve automatic analysis of systems using trusted execution without attempting to search a potentially infinite state space, we define transformations that reduce the number of times the attacker needs to use trusted execution to a pre-determined bound. Given reasonable assumptions we prove the soundness of the transformation: no secrecy attacks are lost by applying it. We then describe using the StatVerif extensions to ProVerif to model the bounded invocations of trusted execution. We show the analysis of realistic systems, for which we provide case studies.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Computer Science
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software


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