Hardware-Assisted Security Monitoring Unit for Real-Time Ensuring Secure Instruction Execution and Data Processing in Embedded Systems

Xiang Wang, Zhun Zhang, Qiang Hao, Dongdong Xu, Jiqing Wang, Haoyu Jia, Zhiyu Zhou
2021 Micromachines  
The hardware security of embedded systems is raising more and more concerns in numerous safety-critical applications, such as in the automotive, aerospace, avionic, and railway systems. Embedded systems are gaining popularity in these safety-sensitive sectors with high performance, low power, and great reliability, which are ideal control platforms for executing instruction operation and data processing. However, modern embedded systems are still exposing many potential hardware vulnerabilities
more » ... to malicious attacks, including software-level and hardware-level attacks; these can cause program execution failure and confidential data leakage. For this reason, this paper presents a novel embedded system by integrating a hardware-assisted security monitoring unit (SMU), for achieving a reinforced system-on-chip (SoC) on ensuring program execution and data processing security. This architecture design was implemented and evaluated on a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA development board. Based on the evaluation of the SMU hardware implementation in terms of performance overhead, security capability, and resource consumption, the experimental results indicate that the SMU does not lead to a significant speed degradation to processor while executing different benchmarks, and its average performance overhead reduces to 2.18% on typical 8-KB I/D-Caches. Security capability evaluation confirms the monitoring effectiveness of SMU against both instruction and data tampering attacks. Meanwhile, the SoC satisfies a good balance between high-security and resource overhead.
doi:10.3390/mi12121450 pmid:34945300 pmcid:PMC8708534 fatcat:ph7h7vlqezdyddlowxvh5ueae4