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EE Times Article: Side-Channel Attacks On Embedded Processors

By June 6, 2019May 12th, 2021No Comments

Embedded systems often use relatively simple processor implementations. As a closed environment, they should be more tightly controlled by the vendor. In fact, this question came up during a panel on verification and compliance for open instruction set architectures (ISAs) at the DVCon US 2019 conference. Open ISAs, in particular RISC-V, but also MIPS and others, offer advantages over proprietary architectures, and are getting increasing attention by the semiconductor industry and embedded devices community.
Until recently, security has mainly focused on the software stack with hardware providing low-level functions, such as a root of trust. The RISC-V foundation puts emphasis on enabling implementation of secure platforms and mechanisms to prevent untrusted code from impacting the integrity of critical system functions. These security features are essential to authenticate software updates. In theory, everything should be fine. Untrusted software can run only within its defined envelope, unable to break out or steal secrets from the secure enclave.
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