IMDEA Software

IMDEA initiative

Home > Events > Invited Talks > 2019 > Trusted Hardware: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Antonio Nappa

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

10:45am Meeting room 302 (Mountain View), level 3

Antonio Nappa, Researcher, Brave Software

Trusted Hardware: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


Trusted hardware is one of the most complex and desired components of modern computers. For example, almost all mobile phones are equipped with a TEE (Trusted-Execution-Environment) as well as modern x86 computers (SGX). Apparently, (almost) no one is claiming to use such technology in production, because it looks like its foundations are still too shaky. An example of problems that can undermine trusted hardware are vulnerabilities like Foreshadow on Intel platforms or CVE-2018-14491 on Qualcomm based devices (phones, tablets). These architectures, on one hand offer unique functionalities, on the other hand their programming model is very convoluted, making this technology both a blessing and a curse. In this talk we will show what makes secure computation a unique tool for research and industry by describing existing systems which leverage such technology. We will engage a discussion about their difficult programming model and possible mitigations to hardware vulnerabilities which, by definition can undermine all the security premises of such architectures.