Visible to the public OAT: Attesting Operation Integrity of Embedded Devices

TitleOAT: Attesting Operation Integrity of Embedded Devices
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsSun, Zhichuang, Feng, Bo, Lu, Long, Jha, Somesh
Conference Name2020 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP)
Date PublishedMay 2020
ISBN Number978-1-7281-3497-0
Keywordsattestation, composability, data integrity, Human Behavior, Instruments, manipulators, Open area test sites, performance evaluation, pubcrawl, resilience, Resiliency

Due to the wide adoption of IoT/CPS systems, embedded devices (IoT frontends) become increasingly connected and mission-critical, which in turn has attracted advanced attacks (e.g., control-flow hijacks and data-only attacks). Unfortunately, IoT backends (e.g., remote controllers or in-cloud services) are unable to detect if such attacks have happened while receiving data, service requests, or operation status from IoT devices (remotely deployed embedded devices). As a result, currently, IoT backends are forced to blindly trust the IoT devices that they interact with.To fill this void, we first formulate a new security property for embedded devices, called "Operation Execution Integrity" or OEI. We then design and build a system, OAT, that enables remote OEI attestation for ARM-based bare-metal embedded devices. Our formulation of OEI captures the integrity of both control flow and critical data involved in an operation execution. Therefore, satisfying OEI entails that an operation execution is free of unexpected control and data manipulations, which existing attestation methods cannot check. Our design of OAT strikes a balance between prover's constraints (embedded devices' limited computing power and storage) and verifier's requirements (complete verifiability and forensic assistance). OAT uses a new control-flow measurement scheme, which enables lightweight and space-efficient collection of measurements (97% space reduction from the trace-based approach). OAT performs the remote control-flow verification through abstract execution, which is fast and deterministic. OAT also features lightweight integrity checking for critical data (74% less instrumentation needed than previous work). Our security analysis shows that OAT allows remote verifiers or IoT backends to detect both controlflow hijacks and data-only attacks that affect the execution of operations on IoT devices. In our evaluation using real embedded programs, OAT incurs a runtime overhead of 2.7%.

Citation Keysun_oat_2020