Intel and UC San Diego Join DARPA Program to Prevent Exploitation of Computing Systems
01 Fevereiro 2023 - 02:00PM
Intel and the University of California, San
Diego have been selected for the DARPA Hardening Development
Toolchains Against Emergent Execution Engines program.
What’s New: Intel and the University of California, San
Diego (UC San Diego) announced today that they have been selected
to join the Hardening Development Toolchains Against Emergent
Execution Engines (HARDEN) program team for the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Adversaries have crafted
increasingly complex cyberattacks in reaction to decades of
platform hardening efforts and increasing IT security measures that
reduce vulnerabilities. Attempts to mitigate these threats have
fallen short, creating an increased risk of intrusion into current
and legacy code.
“The growing complexity of computer systems
leads to more avenues for executing exploits. Through the DARPA
HARDEN program, we will deepen research with UC San Diego to
achieve a practical method to harden legacy and future systems
against cyberattacks across the government computing landscape and
beyond.” – Michael LeMay, Intel Labs senior staff research
scientist and Intel’s principal investigator for the DARPA HARDEN
How It Works: To address threats of cyberattack, DARPA
selected several teams to work on solutions to mitigate and prevent
vulnerabilities in integrated computing systems. The four-year
joint effort will focus on creating tools rooted in cryptography
and formal security theories. As part of this effort, DARPA will
utilize Intel’s Cryptographic Capability Computing (C3) system, the
first stateless memory safety mechanism that effectively replaces
inefficient metadata with efficient cryptography.
At UC San Diego, the effort will be led by professors Deian
Stefan and Dean Tullsen from the Department of Computer Science and
Why It Matters: Since at least the mid-1960s, computer
scientists have sought “capability-based access control” for its
thorough security. Capabilities enlighten processors to
fine-grained divisions between data objects in memory, which
enables addressing memory safety issues that have persistently
accounted for most software vulnerabilities across the industry.
These can provide an entry point for adversaries to launch
“emergent execution” attacks, which manipulate complex interacting
system behaviors (sometimes called “weird machine” behaviors) to
compromise data and system operation.
HARDEN will help create practical tools to prevent the
exploitation of integrated computing systems by disrupting the
patterns of robust, reliable exploits used by attackers and
depriving the attackers of emergent execution engines.
The Details: Intel has a long history of developing
capability-based access control mechanisms, such as in the iAPX 432
and i960MX processors from the 1980s. The C3 system published at
the MICRO 2021 conference overcomes substantial limitations of
prior capability-based access control mechanisms, like their heavy
reliance on metadata (data about data) that is expensive to store
and process, and their incompatibility with legacy code. C3
effectively replaces inefficient metadata with efficient
cryptography by encrypting individual pointers and data objects in
a way that can be widely deployed, even to legacy x86 software.
The HARDEN program will enable Intel and UC San Diego to further
investigate and demonstrate C3’s potential to improve security for
legacy and future systems on DARPA-hard challenge programs. This
will further the goal of understanding how attackers turn parts of
modern computing systems against the whole, so this can be
prevented in the future.
What’s Next: The HARDEN program will run for 48 months
and is organized into three phases: Phases 1 and 2 will each be 18
months, followed by a 12-month Phase 3. Intel is proud to be a part
of this pioneering work with UC San Diego and DARPA, helping keep
the U.S. government’s systems secure.
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world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches
lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the
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Laura Stadler 1-619-346-1170 firstname.lastname@example.org
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