Contemporary ARM Security
Research Surface

by Ron Munitz, The PSCG

In this talk, Ron Munitz will discuss the building blocks of modern ARM-based products [read: Mobile, IoT, (and coming very soon): Servers and Desktop] based products, and give an in-depth introduction and concept translation from the x86/x86_64 security research world, into the (very rich world) of ARM security research.


We will start our discussion with a strict definition of where the "hardware stops" and the "software starts", understand the boot process in the ARM architecture, provide thorough understanding of where the "hardware stops" and the "software start", understand the boot process in the ARM architecture, and give a very brief introduction to the different types of core cortex M/A/R families, what custom design and licensing means, and what it may mean for security researchers.


Then, we will discuss how an Operating System kicks in (in the so-called "Normal/Rich world"), discuss the split from the base ARM design and present several Operating Systems, and tips for the security researchers on how to assess them. Special treatment will be given to the differences between X86 and ARM-based components, and practical tips within the Linux/Android kernel, as well as some surprising references in MacOS and XNU.


We will complete the discussion with a review and tips about researching TrustZone based OS's and interfaces, as well a comparison and research tips for the Mobile/Dekstop/Server Operating Systems vs. the IoT operating systems (closed source/proprietary, Zephyr, Android Things, and bridge OS).


As time permits, we will give invaluable tips of transforming your assembly and reverse engineering skills to ARM research, and display some demos of such concepts. We will also display some demos.


By the end of this talk, the attendee will have a clear understanding of the commonalities and differences of security research in Android, MacOS (iOS) future MacOS (MacOS), embedded/IoT, microprocessors and microcontrollers, and will have the tools to jump-start their research efforts of the broad and dominating world of ARM security.


Target Audience

x86 researchers, hardware engineers interested in software security research an bring up, security personnel who wants to have a clearer picture of the broad ARM products and research world.

Infosec in the City. Copyright © 2017-2019
IIC Productions (Pte. Ltd.). All rights reserved.

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