How to Run Intel® Software Guard Extensions' Simulation Mode

Published: 05/30/2016  

Last Updated: 05/30/2016

Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX):
Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX) is an Intel technology for application developers who are seeking to protect select code and data from disclosure or modification. Intel SGX makes such protections possible through the use of enclaves, which are protected areas of execution. Application code can be put into an enclave by special instructions and software made available to developers via the Intel® SGX SDK. The Intel SGX SDK is a collection of APIs, libraries, documentation, sample source code, and tools that allows software developers to create and debug Intel SGX enabled applications in C/C++.

How do developers benefit from an SGX:
As platforms get hardened, attack surface moves to applications.
Application attacks typically do not cripple the entire application.
SGX offers developers fine grain, CPU-based security controls
CPU-based security is harder to compromise.

SGX Features:

  1. Intel® SGX Enhanced Application Code runs in Ring 3 only.
  2. Intel® SGX allows Applications to contain Enclaves.
  3. Enclaves protect code and data from disclosure or modification.
  4. SGX Enclaves are hardened by CPU-based security mechanisms.
  5. SGX Enclaves can also be remotely provisioned and attested.

Benefits of Intel SGX enclave:

  1. New Intel SGX instructions introduced with 6th Generation Intel® Core™ processor platforms.
  2. Relies on an Intel-provided driver and/or the OS for access to Intel SGX instructions and resource management.
  3. Executes within the context of its parent application, thereby benefiting from the full power of the Intel® processor.
  4. Reduces the trusted computing base of its parent application to the smallest possible footprint.
  5. Remains protected even when the BIOS, VMM, OS, and drivers are compromised, implying that an attacker with full execution control over the platform can be kept at bay.
  6. Benefits from memory protections that thwart memory bus snooping, memory tampering and “cold boot” attacks on images retained in RAM.
  7. Uses hardware-based mechanisms to respond to remote attestation challenges that validate its integrity.
  8. Can work in concert with other enclaves owned or trusted by the parent application.
  9. Can be developed using standard development tools, thereby reducing the learning curve impact on application developers.

Sub-Components of SGX:

  1. Platform
    CPU Instructions
    Firmware (for Platform Services)
    BIOS
  2. Software
    SDK
    Platform Software (re-distributable component)
  3. Service
    Provisioning (getting the SGX EPID key to the platform)
    Attestation (Remote and Local Attestation (ensuring the enclave was correctly instantiated))

Download the SDK from following path:
https://software.intel.com/en-us/sgx-sdk

Software Requirements:

  1. Microsoft Windows* 7/ 8.1/10 64-bit version
  2. Microsoft Visual Studio* 2012 Professional/Ultimate Edition only
  3. Intel® Parallel Studio XE Professional Edition for Windows* Version 2013

Supported Languages:
Enclave binding interface supported in C/C++ only

What is Simulation Mode in SGX Enhanced Application:
The simulation mode works in the same way as the debug mode except the fact that true hardware is not exercised (Sky-Lake Platform), instead the Intel® SGX instructions are simulated in software.
One of the Project configurations to build an enclave in Microsoft Visual Studio* 2012.
Running in simulation mode does not require Intel® SGX hardware/driver. However, it does not provide hardware protection.
Note:
Custom exception handling is only supported in Hardware mode (Sky-Lake Platform).
Although the exception handlers can be registered in simulation mode, the exceptions cannot be caught and handled within the enclave.

How to Use Simulation Mode in SGX Enhanced Application:
Using the Simulation Libraries to run application enclaves in simulation mode (Intel® SGX hardware is not required).

What is Simulation Libraries:
The Intel® SGX Evaluation SDK provides simulation libraries to run application enclaves in simulation mode (Intel® SGX hardware is not required).
There are an untrusted simulation library and a trusted simulation library.
The untrusted simulation library provides the functionality that the untrusted runtime library requires to manage an enclave linked with the trusted simulation library, including the simulation of the Intel® SGX instructions executed outside the enclave: ECREATE, EADD, EEXTEND, EINIT, EREMOVE, and ECREATE.
The trusted simulation library is primarily responsible for simulating the Intel® SGX instructions that can executed inside an enclave: EEXIT, EGETKEY, and EREPORT.

"The simulation mode works in the same way as the debug mode except the fact that true hardware is not exercised, instead the Intel® SGX instructions are simulated in software."

Create a Enclave and Application project using Microsoft Visual Studio* 2012 Professional/Ultimate Edition or Intel® Parallel Studio XE Professional Edition for Windows* Version 2013.

Follow the below steps to develop an SGX Enhanced Application

  1. Create Enclave Project
  2. Define Enclave Interface
  3. Import Enclave to Application
  4. Implement Application and Enclave Functions
  5. Compilation and Execution

Step 1: Create Enclave Project:
You can use Microsoft Visual Studio* Intel® Software Guard Extensions Wizard to create an enclave project. See Step by Step Enclave Creation for the detailed steps.

Step 2: Define Enclave Interface:
Use an EDL file to define the enclave interface, which exposes a trusted interface

Step 3: Import Enclave to Application:
To call the enclave interface in the application, import the enclave to the application using Microsoft Visual Studio* Intel® Software Guard Extensions Add-in.
1. Right click the application project and select Intel® SGX Configuration -> Import Enclave. The Import Enclave dialog box opens.
2. Check the sample_enclave.edl box and press OK.

Step 4: Implement Application and Enclave Functions:
Implement the application and enclave functions

Step 5: Compilation and Execution
Now you can compile the application and enclave projects. After the compilation, set the working directory to the output directory and run the program.

Project Settings:
This section introduces the following project settings:

  1. Recommended Project Settings for an Enclave Project..
  2. Recommended Project Settings for an Untrusted Application.

 

To configure the project settings in Microsoft Visual Studio*, right click the project name in Solution Explorer and select Properties from the context menu.

1. Recommended Project Settings for an Enclave Project:
For an enclave, default project settings are recommended, with the following exceptions:
C/C++->General->Additional Include Directories:
$(SGXSDKInstallPath)include;$(SGXSDKInstallPath)include\t-libc;$(SGXSDKInstallPath)include\stlport;

Linker->General->Additional Library Directories:
$(SGXSDKInstallPath)bin\$(Platform)\$(Configuration)

Linker->Input->Additional Dependencies:
HW Configuration: sgx_trts.lib; sgx_tservice.lib; sgx_tstdc.lib; sgx_tstdcxx.lib; sgx_tcrypto_opt.lib - This is not use for Simulation mode. Used for DEBUG mode
Simulation Configuration: sgx_trts.lib_sim; sgx_tservice_sim.lib; sgx_tstdc.lib; sgx_tstdcxx.lib; sgx_tcrypto.lib

Linker->Input->Ignore All Default Libraries:Yes (/NODEFAULTLIB)

Linker->Advanced->No Entry Point:Yes

To sign the enclave during the build process, set a custom build step in the project settings:
Build Events->Post-Build Event->Command Line:
"$(SGXSDKInstallPath)bin\win32\release\sgx_sign.exe" sign -key "$(Pro-jectDir)sample_enclave_private.pem" -enclave "$(OutDir)sample_enclave.dll" -out "$(OutDir)sample_enclave.signed.dll" -config "$(ProjectDir)sample_enclave.config.xml" Note: The signing command line is a sample command. Change the command line based on the actual enclave name.

Build Events->Post-Build Event->Use In Build:Yes

2. Recommended Project Settings for an Untrusted Application:
Use the default project settings for an untrusted application, with the following additional settings:
C/C++->General->Additional Include Directories: $(SGXSDKInstallPath)include;

Linker->General->Additional Library Directories: $(SGXSDKInstallPath)bin\$(Plat-form)\$(Configuration)

Linker->Input->Additional Dependencies:
HW Configuration: sgx_uae_service.lib; sgx_urts.lib - This is not use for Simulation mode. Used for DEBUG mode
Simulation Configuration: sgx_uae_service_sim.lib; sgx_urts_sim.lib

Now we are able to run application enclaves in simulation mode (Intel® SGX hardware is not required) using Intel® SGX Evaluation SDK provides simulation libraries.

Please find the Sample code for SGX Enhanced Application using simulation mode at below link
GitHub* - https://github.com/surentharbe/Intel_SGX/tree/master/Simulation_Code

Product and Performance Information

1

Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. Learn more at www.Intel.com/PerformanceIndex.