A hardware root-of-trust design for low-power SoC edge devices
September 22, 2020
In this work, we introduce a hardware root-of-trust architecture for low-power edge devices. An accelerator-based SoC design that includes the hardware root-of-trust architecture is developed. An example application for the device is presented. We examine attacks based on physical access given the significant threat they pose to unattended edge systems. The hardware root-of-trust provides security features to ensure the integrity of the SoC execution environment when deployed in uncontrolled, unattended locations. E-fused boot memory ensures the boot code and other security critical software is not compromised after deployment. Digitally signed programmable instruction memory prevents execution of code from untrusted sources. A programmable finite state machine is used to enforce access policies to device resources even if the application software on the device is compromised. Access policies isolate the execution states of application and security-critical software. The hardware root-of-trust architecture saves energy with a lower hardware overhead than a separate secure enclave while eliminating software attack surfaces for access control policies.