Paper 2016/1193

The Secret Processor Will Go to The Ball: Benchmark Insider-Proof Encrypted Computing

P. T. Breuer, J. P. Bowen, E. Palomar, and Z. Liu


`Encrypted computing' is an approach to the prevention of insider attacks by the privileged operator against the unprivileged user on a computation system. It requires a processor that works natively on encrypted data in user mode, and the security barrier that protects the user is hardware-based encryption, not access protocols. We report on progress and practical experience with our superscalar RISC class prototype processor for encrypted computing and the supporting software infrastructure. It has been shown formally impossible for operator mode to read (or write to order) the plaintext form of data originating from or being operated on in the user mode of this class of processor, given that the encryption is independently secure. This paper aims to alert the secure hardware community that encrypted computing is possibly practical, not only theoretically plausible. The standard Dhrystone benchmark reported here for AES-128 encrypted computation shows performance equivalent to a 433MHz classic Pentium at the prototype's 1GHz base clock.

Note: This is a preprint as of Jan 18 2018 with the title changed to match the camera ready version as accepted for S4CIP'18, not the camera ready version itself. There will be major differences. This is for the historical record.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. Major revision. 3rd Workshop on Safety & Security aSSurance Critical Infrastructures Protection (S4CIP'18) / 3rd European Symposium on Security and Privacy (EuroS&P'18)
Applicationssecret-key cryptographyAESapplications
Contact author(s)
Peter T Breuer @ gmail com
2018-05-08: last of 9 revisions
2017-01-01: received
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      author = {P. T.  Breuer and J. P.  Bowen and E.  Palomar and Z.  Liu},
      title = {The Secret Processor Will Go to The Ball: Benchmark Insider-Proof Encrypted Computing},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2016/1193},
      year = {2016},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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