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ABSTRACT
CHERI extends a conventional RISC Instruction-Set Architecture, compiler, and operating system to support fine-grained, capability-based memory protection to mitigate memory-related vulnerabilities in C-language TCBs. We describe how CHERI capabilities can also underpin a hardware-software object-capability model for application compartmentalization that can mitigate broader classes of attack. Prototyped as an extension to the open-source 64-bit BERI RISC FPGA soft-core processor, Free BSD operating system, and LLVM compiler, we demonstrate multiple orders-of-magnitude improvement in scalability, simplified programmability, and resulting tangible security benefits as compared to compartmentalization based on pure Memory-Management Unit (MMU) designs. We evaluate incrementally deployable CHERI-based compartmentalization using several real-world UNIX libraries and applications.
INDEX TERMS
data protection, operating systems (computers), program compilers, reduced instruction set computing, software architecture
CITATION

R. N. Watson et al., "CHERI: A Hybrid Capability-System Architecture for Scalable Software Compartmentalization," 2015 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP), San Jose, CA, USA, 2015, pp. 20-37.
doi:10.1109/SP.2015.9
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