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Trusted Execution Environment: What It is, and What It is Not

Abstract : Nowadays, there is a trend to design complex, yet secure systems. In this context, the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) was designed to enrich the previously defined trusted platforms. TEE is commonly known as an isolated processing environment in which applications can be securely executed irrespective of the rest of the system. However, TEE still lacks a precise definition as well as representative building blocks that systematize its design. Existing definitions of TEE are largely inconsistent and unspecific, which leads to confusion in the use of the term and its differentiation from related concepts, such as secure execution environment (SEE). In this paper, we propose a precise definition of TEE and analyze its core properties. Furthermore, we discuss important concepts related to TEE, such as trust and formal verification. We give a short survey on the existing academic and industrial ARM TrustZone-based TEE, and compare them using our proposed definition. Finally, we discuss some known attacks on deployed TEE as well as its wide use to guarantee security in diverse applications.
Keywords : TEE TrustZone
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Conference papers
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Contributor : Mohamed Sabt <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 18, 2015 - 1:56:42 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:38:29 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, March 19, 2016 - 1:20:14 PM


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Mohamed Sabt, Mohammed Achemlal, Abdelmadjid Bouabdallah. Trusted Execution Environment: What It is, and What It is Not. 14th IEEE International Conference on Trust, Security and Privacy in Computing and Communications, Aug 2015, Helsinki, Finland. ⟨10.1109/Trustcom.2015.357⟩. ⟨hal-01246364⟩



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