Software Protection through Specialized Commodity Processors
Small Business Information
317 N. Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY, 14850
AbstractThe protection of intellectual property is a key problem being addressed both in public and private research. However, even with the amount of resources given to further research into the state-of-the-art, existing technologies are far short of being sufficiently protected against reverse engineering. Of particular concern is the use of software-only techniques, which are susceptible to a variety of known attacks through emulation, debugging, and disassembly. Additionally, hardware-only defenses are vulnerable to mimicry and circumvention; the most effective solution to the problem will evolve as a hybridization of both software- and hardware-based methods. Modern computing systems are not monolithic devices, and contain several commodity processors that perform various operations such as network, sound and graphics processing. Monolithic software protections are limited in their effectiveness due to relatively low complexity; that is, the reverse engineer has a single program to attack, and must only emulate known system architectures and behavior if necessary. The work proposed herein will demonstrate the feasibility of offloading software protections to commodity processors using the existing anti-tamper framework at GrammaTech. In doing so, it will be possible to establish stronger and more efficient software protections due to the expanded computational abilities afforded by commodity hardware.
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