Shengye Wan, Mingshen Sun, Kun Sun, Ning Zhang, and Xu He
Proceedings of the 35th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference ACSAC '20, December 2020.



In the past decade, Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) provided by ARM TrustZone is becoming one of the primary techniques for enhancing the security of mobile devices. The isolation enforced by TrustZone can protect the trusted applications running in the TEE against malicious software in the untrusted rich execution environment (REE). However, TrustZone cannot completely prevent vulnerabilities in trusted applications residing in the TEE, which can then be used to attack other trusted applications or even the trusted OS. Previously, a number of memory corruption vulnerabilities have been reported on different TAs, which are written in memory-unsafe languages like C.

Recently, various memory-safe programming languages have emerged to mitigate the prevalent memory corruption bugs. In this paper, we propose RusTEE, a trusted application mechanism that leverages Rust, a newly emerged memory-safe language, to enhance the security of TAs. Though the high-level idea is quite straight-forwarding, we resolve several challenges on adopting Rust in mobile TEEs. Specifically, since Rust currently does not support any TrustZone-assisted TEE systems, we extend the existing Rust compiler for providing such support. Also, we apply comprehensive security mechanisms to resolve two security issues of trusted applications, namely, securely invoking high-privileged system services and securely communicating with untrusted REE. We implement a prototype of RusTEE as the trusted applications’ SDK, which supports both emulator and real hardware devices. The experiment shows that RusTEE can compile applications with close-to-C performance on the evaluated platforms.

BibTeX Record:

    author    = "Shengye Wan and Mingshen Sun and Kun Sun and Ning Zhang and Xu He",
    title     = "{RusTEE: Developing Memory-Safe ARM TrustZone Applications}",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of the 36th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference",
    series    = "ACSAC '20",
    year      = "2020",
    month     = "12",