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Education and Innovation in Embedded Systems Design

USI Università della Svizzera italiana, USI Faculty of Informatics, Advanced Learning and Research Institute USI Università della Svizzera italiana USI Faculty of Informatics USI Advanced Learning and Research Institute
TitleHardware-assisted Security Enhanced Linux in Embedded Systems: a Proposal
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFiorin, L., A. Ferrante, K. Padarnitsas, and S. Carucci
Conference NameProceedings of the 5th Workshop on Embedded Systems Security (WESS'2010)
Date PublishedOctober 24
Conference LocationScottsdale, Arizona, USA
Keywordsaccess controls, embedded systems, SELinux

As computing and communications increasingly pervade our lives, security and protection of sensitive data and systems are emerging as extremely important issues. This is especially true for embedded systems, often operating in non-secure environments, and with limited amount of computational, storage, and communication resources available. In servers and desktop systems, Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is currently used as a method to enhance security by enforcing a security control based on policies that confine user programs, or processes, to the minimum amount of privileges that they require for their execution. While providing a powerful mean for enhancing security in UNIX-like systems, SELinux still remains a feature that is too heavy to be fully supported by constrained devices. In this paper, we propose a hardware architecture for enhancing security and accelerating retrieval and applications of SELinux policies in embedded processors. We describe the general ideas be hind our work, discussing motivations, advantages, and limits of the solution proposed, while suggesting the main steps needed to implement the described architecture on common embedded processors.