International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Srdjan Capkun


Composite Enclaves: Towards Disaggregated Trusted Execution
The ever-rising computation demand is forcing the move from the CPU to heterogeneous specialized hardware, which is readily available across modern datacenters through disaggregated infrastructure. On the other hand, trusted execution environments (TEEs), one of the most promising recent developments in hardware security, can only protect code confined in the CPU, limiting TEEs’ potential and applicability to a handful of applications. We observe that the TEEs’ hardware trusted computing base (TCB) is fixed at design time, which in practice leads to using untrusted software to employ peripherals in TEEs. Based on this observation, we propose composite enclaves with a configurable hardware and software TCB, allowing enclaves access to multiple computing and IO resources. Finally, we present two case studies of composite enclaves: i) an FPGA platform based on RISC-V Keystone connected to emulated peripherals and sensors, and ii) a large-scale accelerator. These case studies showcase a flexible but small TCB (2.5 KLoC for IO peripherals and drivers), with a low-performance overhead (only around 220 additional cycles for a context switch), thus demonstrating the feasibility of our approach and showing that it can work with a wide range of specialized hardware.
Hacking in the Blind: (Almost) Invisible Runtime User Interface Attacks
We describe novel, adaptive user interface attacks, where the adversary attaches a small device to the interface that connects user input peripherals to the target system. The device executes the attack when the authorized user is performing safety-, or security-critical operations, by modifying or blocking user input, or injecting new events. Although the adversary fully controls the user input channel, to succeed he needs to overcome a number of challenges, including the inability to directly observe the state of the user interface and avoiding being detected by the legitimate user. We present new techniques that allow the adversary to do user interface state estimation and fingerprinting, and thus attack a new range of scenarios that previous UI attacks do not apply to. We evaluate our attacks on two different types of platforms: e-banking on general-purpose PCs, and dedicated medical terminals. Our evaluation shows that such attacks can be implemented efficiently, are hard for the users to detect, and would lead to serious violations of input integrity.
On the Security of Carrier Phase-Based Ranging
Multicarrier phase-based ranging is fast emerging as a cost-optimized solution for a wide variety of proximity-based applications due to its low power requirement, low hardware complexity and compatibility with existing standards such as ZigBee and 6LoWPAN. Given potentially critical nature of the applications in which phase-based ranging can be deployed (e.g., access control, asset tracking), it is important to evaluate its security guarantees. Therefore, in this work, we investigate the security of multicarrier phase-based ranging systems and specifically focus on distance decreasing relay attacks that have proven detrimental to the security of proximity-based access control systems (e.g., vehicular passive keyless entry and start systems). We show that phase-based ranging, as well as its implementations, are vulnerable to a variety of distance reduction attacks. We describe different attack realizations and verify their feasibility by simulations and experiments on a commercial ranging system. Specifically, we successfully reduced the estimated range to less than $$3\, \mathrm {m}$$ even though the devices were more than 50 m apart. We discuss possible countermeasures against such attacks and illustrate their limitations, therefore demonstrating that phase-based ranging cannot be fully secured against distance decreasing attacks.