Malware in the SGX supply chain: Be careful when signing enclaves!

Malware attacks are a significant part of the new software security threats detected each year. Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) are a set of hardware instructions introduced by Intel in their recent lines of processors that are intended to provide a secure execution environment for user-developed applications. To our knowledge, there was no serious attempt yet to overcome the SGX protection by exploiting the weaknesses in the software supply chain infrastructure, namely at the level of the development, build or signing servers. While SGX protection does not specifically take into consideration such threats, we show in the current paper that a simple malware attack exploiting a separation between the build and signing processes can have a serious damaging impact, practically nullifying SGX integrity protection measures. We also explore two possible mitigations against the attack, one centralized leveraging SGX itself, and one distributed that relies on a smart contract deployed on a blockchain infrastructure. Our evaluation shows that both methods are feasible in practice and their added costs are acceptable for the offered protection.

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IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, 1-12
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 Record created 2020-10-01, last modified 2020-10-26

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