Common-Sense Applications of Hardware-Based Trusted Execution Environments

Friday, March 2, 2018 - 11:00am EST

  • Location:2 MetroTech Center, 10th Floor, 10.099
  • Contact:Justin Cappos

Speaker:  N. Asokan, Aalto University, Finland


Hardware-based trusted execution environments (TEEs) have been widely deployed in smartphones and tablets already for several years. Recently, Intel introduced Software Guard Extensions (SGX), which can be used to realize TEEs for the x86 architecture. Despite such broad availability, few applications actually make use of this functionality. Furthermore, researchers have been wary of using TEE technologies because of technical (e.g., possibility of side channels) and philosophical (e.g., control by device manufacturers, and the need to trust them) considerations. A common perception is that trusted execution environments, and more broadly, trusted computing technologies, were designed and deployed to limit the freedom of end users. In this talk, I will argue that there are a number of "common-sense" applications of TEEs that can benefit end users. I will describe two such applications from our recent research.


N. Asokan is a professor of Computer Science at Aalto University, Finland. His research interests are broadly in systems security. He is the lead academic PI of Intel Collaborative Research Center ( in Finland and is the director of Helsinki-Aalto Center for Information Security ( Asokan is an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Distinguished Scientist. For more information about Asokan and his research, see his website ( or Twitter profile (@nasokan).