SGX-Shield: Enabling Address Space Layout Randomization for SGX Programs
Download: Paper (PDF)
Date: 27 Feb 2017
Document Type: Reports
Associated Event: NDSS Symposium 2017
Traditional execution environments deploy Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) to defend against memory corruption attacks. However, Intel Software Guard Extension (SGX), a new trusted execution environment designed to serve security-critical applications on the cloud, lacks such an effective, well-studied feature. In fact, we find that applying ASLR to SGX programs raises non-trivial issues beyond simple engineering for a number of reasons: 1) SGX is designed to defeat a stronger adversary than the traditional model, which requires the address space layout to be hidden from the kernel; 2) the limited memory uses in SGX programs present a new challenge in providing a sufficient degree of entropy; 3) remote attestation conflicts with the dynamic relocation required for ASLR; and 4) the SGX specification relies on known and fixed addresses for key data structures that cannot be randomized.
This paper presents SGX-Shield, a new ASLR scheme designed for SGX environments. SGX-Shield is built on a secure in-enclave loader to secretly bootstrap the memory space layout with a finer-grained randomization. To be compatible with SGX hardware (e.g., remote attestation, fixed addresses), SGX-Shield is designed with a software-based data execution protection mechanism through an LLVM-based compiler. We implement SGX-Shield and thoroughly evaluate it on real SGX hardware. It shows a high degree of randomness in memory layouts and stops memory corruption attacks with a high probability. SGX-Shield shows 7.61% performance overhead in running common microbenchmarks and 2.25% overhead in running a more realistic workload of an HTTPS server.