Applications and Challenges in Securing Time

Authors: 

Fatima M. Anwar and Mani Srivastava, UCLA

Short Preliminary Work Paper

Abstract: 

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.

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

BibTeX
@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 = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/cset19/presentation/anwar},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = aug,
}