Semantic Remote Attestation is a promising approach for establishing trust in remote systems. In its simplest form an appraiser makes a request for an attestation to a target; the target returns evidence of its state; and the appraiser makes a determination about the attester and its target. In essence, remote attestation evaluates the expectedness of a remote system.
Over the past decade we have engaged with our colleagues in developing a semantic basis for remote attestation and realizing that semantics in operational tools. We now find ourselves in a position to make significant strides towards systematic design, analysis and implementation of layered attestation systems. Three major research topics are being investigated:
- Evidence and Time - A semantics of evidence over time that allows predictions about the effectiveness of attestation evidence in appraising systems.
- Flexible Mechanisms at Scale - A semantics for appraisal architectures and its realization as a collection of reusable attestation components and tools for static analysis.
- Empirical Case Studies - Large scale empirical studies of defining, implementing, and running attestation architectures with applications in supply chain and zero trust.
Our research program will put layered attestation on a firm semantic basis while providing semantically sound techniques, languages and tools that allow others to successfully field complex attestation systems.
Perry Alexander is the AT&T Foundation Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Science and Director of the Institute for Information Sciences at the University of Kansas. His research and teaching interests include formal verification and synthesis, trusted systems, and programming language semantics. His My teaching interests include formal methods, programming languages and semantics, digital systems design and software engineering. His research interests include formal methods, system-level design, trusted computing, design and specification language semantics, and component retrieval.