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Security improvement in embedded systems via an efficient hardware bound checking architecture

Michael Georg Grasser (Institute for Technical Informatics, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria)

International Journal of Web Information Systems

ISSN: 1744-0084

Article publication date: 28 September 2007




Embedded technologies are one of the fastest growing sectors in information technology today and they are still open fields with many business opportunities. Hardly any new product reaches the market without embedded systems components any more. However, the main technical challenges include the design and integration, as well as providing the necessary degree of security in an embedded system. This paper aims to focus on a new processor architecture introduced to face security issues.


In the short term, the main idea of this paper focuses on the implementation of a method for the improvement of code security through measurements in hardware that can be transparent to software developers. It was decided to develop a processor core extension that provides an improved capability against software vulnerabilities and improves the security of target systems passively. The architecture directly executes bound checking in hardware without performance loss, whereas checking in software would make any application intolerably slow.


Simulation results demonstrated that the proposed design offers a higher performance and security, when compared with other solutions. For the implementation of the Secure CPU, the SPARC V8‐based LEON 2 processor from Gaisler Research was used. The processor core was adapted and finally synthesised for a GR‐XC3S‐1500 board and extended.


As numerically, most systems run on dedicated hardware and not on high‐performance general purpose processors. There certainly exists a market even for new hardware to be used in real applications. Thus, the experience from the related project work can lead to valuable and marketable results for businesses and academics.



Georg Grasser, M. (2007), "Security improvement in embedded systems via an efficient hardware bound checking architecture", International Journal of Web Information Systems, Vol. 3 No. 1/2, pp. 153-172.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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