InkTag: Secure Applications on an Untrusted Operating System

Owen Hofmann, Sangman Kim, Alan M. Dunn, Michael Z. Lee, and Emmett Witchel

Proceedings of the ACM Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS) 2013.

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Operating Systems, Security

InkTag is a virtualization-based architecture that gives strong safety guarantees to high-assurance processes even in the presence of a malicious operating system. InkTag advances the state of the art in untrusted operating systems in both the design of its hypervisor and in the ability to run useful applications without trusting the operating system. We introduce paraverification, a technique that simplifies the InkTag hypervisor by forcing the untrusted operating system to participate in its own verification. Attribute-based access control allows trusted applications to create decentralized access control policies. InkTag is also the first system of its kind to ensure consistency between secure data and metadata, ensuring recoverability in the face of system crashes.