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Abstract: “Embedded systems are deployed ubiquitously among various sectors including automotive, medical, robotics and avionics. As these devices become increasingly connected, the attack surface also increases tremendously; new mechanisms must be deployed to defend against more sophisticated attacks while not violating resource constraints. In this paper we present CheriRTOS on CHERI-64, a hardware-software platform atop Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions (CHERI) for embedded systems.

Our system provides efficient and scalable task isolation, fast and secure inter-task communication, fine-grained memory safety, and real-time guarantees, using hardware capabilities as the sole protection mechanism. We summarize state-of-the-art security and memory safety for embedded systems for comparison with our platform, illustrating the superior substrate provided by CHERI’s capabilities. Finally, our evaluations show that a capability system can be implemented within the constraints of embedded systems.”