Applications and Challenges in Securing Time


Fatima M. Anwar and Mani Srivastava, UCLA

Short Preliminary Work Paper


In this paper, we establish the importance of trusted time for the safe and correct operation of various applications. There are, however, challenges in securing time against hardware timer manipulation, software attacks, and malicious network delays on current systems. To provide security of time, we explore the timing capabilities of trusted execution technologies that put their root of trust in hardware. A key concern is that these technologies do not protect time integrity and are susceptible to various timing attacks by a malicious operating system and an untrusted network. We argue that it is essential to safeguard time-based primitives across all layers of a time stack – the hardware timers, platform software, and network time packets. This paper provides a detailed examination of vulnerabilities in current time services, followed by a set of requirements to build a secure time architecture.

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@inproceedings {238260,
author = {Fatima M. Anwar and Mani Srivastava},
title = {Applications and Challenges in Securing Time},
booktitle = {12th USENIX Workshop on Cyber Security Experimentation and Test (CSET 19)},
year = {2019},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug