TAG: Tagged Architecture Guide

Samuel Jero, Nathan Burow, Bryan Ward, Richard Skowyra, Roger Khazan, Howard Shrobe, Hamed Okhravi
2022 ACM Computing Surveys  
Software security defenses are routinely broken by the persistence of both security researchers and attackers. Hardware solutions based on tagging are emerging as a promising technique that provides strong security guarantees ( e.g., memory safety) while incurring minimal runtime overheads and maintaining compatibility with existing codebases. Such schemes extend every word in memory with a tag and enforce security policies across them. This paper provides a survey of existing work on tagged
more » ... hitectures and describe the types of attacks such architectures aim to prevent as well as the guarantees they provide. It highlights the main distinguishing factors among tagged architectures and presents the diversity of designs and implementations that have been proposed. The survey reveals several real-world challenges have been neglected relating to both security and practical deployment. The challenges relate to the provisioning and enforcement phases of tagged architectures, and various overheads they incur. This work identifies these challenges as open research problems and provides suggestions for improving their security and practicality.
doi:10.1145/3533704 fatcat:ehnppfjyrndw5bapsmzqo32m3a