A framework for testing hardware-software security architectures

Jeffrey S. Dwoskin, Mahadevan Gomathisankaran, Yu Yuan Chen, Ruby B. Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


New security architectures are difficult to prototype and test at the design stage. Fine-grained monitoring of the interactions between hardware, the operating system and applications is required. We have designed and prototyped a testing framework, using virtualization, that can emulate the behavior of new hardware mechanisms in the virtual CPU and can perform a wide range of hardware and software attacks on the system under test. Our testing framework provides APIs for monitoring hardware and software events in the system under test, launching attacks, and observing their effects. We demonstrate its use by testing the security properties of the Secret Protection (SP) architecture using a suite of attacks. We show two important lessons learned from the testing of the SP architecture that affect the design and implementation of the architecture. Our framework enables extensive testing of hardware-software security architectures, in a realistic and flexible environment, with good performance provided by virtualization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 26th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, ACSAC 2010
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781450301336
StatePublished - 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings - Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, ACSAC
ISSN (Print)1063-9527

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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