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RT-trust: automated refactoring for trusted execution under real-time constraints

Yin Liu, Kijin An, Eli Tilevich

Abstract: Real-time systems must meet strict timeliness requirements. These systems also often need to protect their critical program information (CPI) from adversarial interference and intellectual property theft. Trusted execution environments (TEE) execute CPI tasks on a special-purpose processor, thus providing hardware protection. However, adapting a system written to execute in environments without TEE requires partitioning the code into the regular and trusted parts. This process involves complex manual program transformations that are not only laborious and intellectually tiresome, but also hard to validate and verify for the adherence to real-time constraints. To address these problems, this paper presents novel program analyses and transformation techniques, accessible to the developer via a declarative meta-programming model. The developer declaratively specifies the CPI portion of the system. A custom static analysis checks CPI specifications for validity, while probe-based profiling helps identify whether the transformed system would continue to meet the original real-time constraints, with a feedback loop suggesting how to modify the code, so its CPI can be isolated. Finally, an automated refactoring isolates the CPI portion for TEE-based execution, communicated with through generated calls to the TEE API. We have evaluated our approach by successfully enabling the trusted execution of the CPI portions of several microbenchmarks and a drone autopilot. Our approach shows the promise of declarative meta-programming in reducing the programmer effort required to adapt systems for trusted execution under real-time constraints.
Keywords: software refactoring / real-time systems / trusted execution / program analyses / declarative meta-programming

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