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Securing a trusted hardware environment (Trusted Execution Environment)

Mathieu da Silva 1
LIRMM - Laboratoire d'Informatique de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier
Abstract : This work is part of the Trusted Environment Execution eVAluation (TEEVA) project (French project FUI n°20 from January 2016 to December 2018) that aims to evaluate two alternative solutions for secure mobile platforms: a purely software one, the Whitebox Crypto, and a TEE solution, which integrates software and hardware components. The TEE relies on the ARM TrustZone technology available on many of the chipsets for the Android smartphones and tablets market. This thesis focuses on the TEE architecture. The goal is to analyze potential threats linked to the test/debug infrastructures classically embedded in hardware systems for functional conformity checking after manufacturing.Testing is a mandatory step in the integrated circuit production because it ensures the required quality and reliability of the devices. Because of the extreme complexity of nowadays integrated circuits, test procedures cannot rely on a simple control of primary inputs with test patterns, then observation of produced test responses on primary outputs. Test facilities must be embedded in the hardware at design time, implementing the so-called Design-for-Testability (DfT) techniques. The most popular DfT technique is the scan design. Thanks to this test-driven synthesis, registers are connected in one or several chain(s), the so-called scan chain(s). A tester can then control and observe the internal states of the circuit through dedicated scan pins and components. Unfortunately, this test infrastructure can also be used to extract sensitive information stored or processed in the chip, data strongly correlated to a secret key for instance. A scan attack consists in retrieving the secret key of a crypto-processor thanks to the observation of partially encrypted results.Experiments have been conducted during the project on the demonstrator board with the target TEE in order to analyze its security against a scan-based attack. In the demonstrator board, a countermeasure is implemented to ensure the security of the assets processed and saved in the TEE. The test accesses are disconnected preventing attacks exploiting test infrastructures but disabling the test interfaces for testing, diagnosis and debug purposes. The experimental results have shown that chips based on TrustZone technology need to implement a countermeasure to protect the data extracted from the scan chains. Besides the simple countermeasure consisting to avoid scan accesses, further countermeasures have been developed in the literature to ensure security while preserving test and debug facilities. State-of-the-art countermeasures against scan-based attacks have been analyzed. From this study, we investigate a new proposal in order to preserve the scan chain access while preventing attacks, and to provide a plug-and-play countermeasure that does not require any redesign of the scanned circuit while maintaining its testability. Our solution is based on the encryption of the test communication, it provides confidentiality of the communication between the circuit and the tester and prevents usage from unauthorized users. Several architectures have been investigated, this document also reports pros and cons of envisaged solutions in terms of security and performance.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 3:51:06 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 31, 2022 - 10:48:14 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 7:19:14 AM


Version validated by the jury (STAR)


  • HAL Id : tel-02122896, version 1


Mathieu da Silva. Securing a trusted hardware environment (Trusted Execution Environment). Micro and nanotechnologies/Microelectronics. Université Montpellier, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018MONTS053⟩. ⟨tel-02122896⟩



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