HyperFlow: A processor architecture for nonmalleable,
timing-safe information-flow security
October 2018, Toronto, Canada
This paper presents HyperFlow, a processor that enforces secure information flow, including control over timing channels. The design and implementation of HyperFlow offer security assurance because it is implemented using a security-typed hardware description language that enforces secure information flow. Unlike prior processors that aim to enforce simple information-flow policies such as noninterference, HyperFlow allows complex information flow policies that can be configured at run time. Its fine-grained, decentralized information flow mechanisms allow controlled communication among mutually distrusting processes and system calls into different security domains. We address the significant challenges in designing such a processor architecture with contributions in both the hardware architecture and the security type system. The paper discusses the architecture decisions that make the processor secure and describes ChiselFlow, a new secure hardware description language supporting lightweight information-flow enforcement. The HyperFlow architecture is prototyped on a full-featured processor that offers a complete RISC-V instruction set, and is shown to add moderate overhead to area and performance.
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