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A New Doctrine for Hardware Security

Hastings, Adam K.; Sethumadhavan, Simha

In recent years, high-profile hardware attacks have brought attention to the importance of and inadequate state of hardware security. Hardware security remains an elusive challenge because like other areas of security, it is an abnormal good where the economic laws of the free market fail to produce optimal outcomes. Correcting such marketplace failures is generally the role of government or other regulatory agencies and has been proposed and even implemented in some areas of security. However, little if no comparable work has been done in the realm of computer hardware. One explanation for this is that unlike other areas of security, we lack a comprehensive intellectual framework for discussing and reasoning about hardware security. We find that previous doctrines of security either do not apply or offer an incomplete perspective in this domain. We propose a new doctrine of hardware security based on the idea that achieving security is a burden, and that this burden must be shared between all the players in the game of security. Our doctrine serves as a tool for conceptualizing and understanding how hardware security should be regulated and administered.

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Published Here
September 4, 2020

Notes

Keywords: hardware security; mandated security; economics of security; Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer