Securing Safety-Critical Systems: A Trusted Execution Environment for Safety-critical Embedded Systems

Research Areas: Cyber-Physical Systems

Principal Investigator: Christina Garman

In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm has lead to an explosion in the embedded industry. Many embedded platforms composed of commercial of the shelf (COTS) hardware with various capabilities have emerged on the market. Software running on these systems also range from applications managed by real-time operating systems, to bare-metal solutions. Achitecturally, these systems focus on attributes such as responsiveness, robustness and performance. Security has largely been ingored in the embedded industry.

Security in embedded systems in general, is crucial since many of these systems are deployed in mission or safety critical applications. Most often than not, security becomes an afterthought or simply ignored completely. However, code running on these systems usually have access to the entire memory space exposing a huge attack surface to system. A security compromise could have devastating safety or privacy implications on the system. In this work, we contribute to the field by addressing some of the security issues in safety-critical embedded systems, in particular, we propose a strategy for protecting trusted critical code and resources in a typical safety-critical system. We leverage Arm’s TrustZone technology as a foundation for a trusted exeuction environment. We demonstrate our strategy by instantiating our design with FreeRTOS (a popular real-time kernel for embedded systems).


Students: Boakye Dankwa

Coming Up!

Our annual security symposium will take place on April 7th and 8th, 2020.
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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