Paper 2016/635

Sealed-Glass Proofs: Using Transparent Enclaves to Prove and Sell Knowledge

Florian Tramer, Fan Zhang, Huang Lin, Jean-Pierre Hubaux, Ari Juels, and Elaine Shi


Trusted hardware systems, such as Intel's new SGX instruction set architecture extension, aim to provide strong confidentiality and integrity assurances for applications. Recent work, however, raises serious concerns about the vulnerability of such systems to side-channel attacks. We propose, formalize, and explore a cryptographic primitive called a {\em Sealed-Glass Proof (SGP)} that captures computation possible in an isolated execution environment with *unbounded leakage*, and thus in the face of arbitrarily powerful side-channel attacks. A SGP specifically models the capabilities of trusted hardware that can attest to *correct execution* of a piece of code, but whose execution is *transparent*, meaning that an application's secrets and state are visible to other processes on the same host. Despite this strong threat model, we show that a SGP can support a range of practical applications. Our key observation is that a SGP permits safe verifiable computing in zero-knowledge, as information leakage results only in the prover learning her own secrets. Among other applications, we describe the implementation of an end-to-end bug bounty (or zero-day solicitation) platform that couples a SGX-based SGP with a smart contract. This platform enables a marketplace that achieves fair exchange, protects against unfair bounty withdrawals, and resists denial-of-service attacks by dishonest sellers. We also consider a slight relaxation of the SGP model that permits black-box modules instantiating minimal, side-channel resistant primitives, yielding a still broader range of applications. Our work shows how trusted hardware systems such as SGX can support trustworthy applications even in the presence of side channels.

Note: Full version with proofs.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
zero knowledgetrusted hardwarecryptocurrencysmart contracts
Contact author(s)
florian tramer @ gmail com
2017-06-20: last of 5 revisions
2016-06-21: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Florian Tramer and Fan Zhang and Huang Lin and Jean-Pierre Hubaux and Ari Juels and Elaine Shi},
      title = {Sealed-Glass Proofs: Using Transparent Enclaves to Prove and Sell Knowledge},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2016/635},
      year = {2016},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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