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A First Commercial Attestation Implementation: The Intel Trust Attestation Platform

To provide a path toward broad use of trusted compute pools and to exemplify the vision of trusted infrastructure and cloud computing, Intel developed a remote attestation solution capable of working across a broad range of hardware and operating system and virtual machine monitor platforms: the Intel Trust Attestation Platform (TAP). The goals of the Intel Trust Attestation Platform are threefold:

• Provide a production-quality implementation of remote attestation and a trust assessment authority capable of providing verification and assessment across a broad range of devices. The Intel Trust Attestation Platform features high availability and security of the attestation platform and its interfaces.

• Provide stable and simplistic northbound and southbound application programming interfaces (APIs) for attestation information requesters, and for interfacing with different sources of integrity measurements. These are trust APIs, designed to encourage multiple interoperable attestation solutions from a variety of security-management independent software vendors. The interoperability and diversity minimize the occurrence of vendor lock-in.

• Develop the attestation platform as a true extensible and pluggable framework providing fertile ground for the deployment of innovative third-party attestation techniques and models. Initially, the solution supports a TPM-based static attestation model, and is already being extended to support dynamic attestation techniques for asserting the boot integrity of virtual machines, as well as the run-time integrity of operating systems and hypervisors.

Figure 4-3 captures the high-level architecture of the Intel Trust Attestation Platform. Consistent with the cloud approach, the Intel Trust Attestation Platform features a loosely coupled architecture with a flexible software backplane and fabric with core capabilities and services, including a set of slots to plug in various attestation blades for different types of attestation provided by Intel and third-party independent software vendors. Here are the key aspects of the architecture:

Figure 4-3. Intel Trust Attestation Platform

• An API layer acting as primary interface for:

• Endpoint devices needing to carry out an attestation before a request for services

• Entities requesting integrity verification for policy enforcement and visibility into the trust of the infrastructure

• Access to compliance and security monitoring tools

• A common services layer for the attestation service and platform to enable authentication, authorization, and access control (AAA) for the API calls, and a flexible and extensible data model for the attestation platform repository accessible via APIs.

• An attestation blade supporting a variety of attestation types implemented as plug-ins. The attestation blade is an element of a set of pluggable components integrated into the attestation platform taking advantage of the fabric and core functionality of the platform, including interfaces, security, and common services. As shown in Figure 4-3, each blade has two distinct components:

• A measurement and attestation agent capable of collecting measurements from an endpoint device or server.

• A verification module that uses the attestation platform services, and provides custom verification logic for an attestation capability instance, using the northbound APIs of the attestation platform, thereby exposing an assertion function and making it available to policy enforcers and other requesting entities.

 
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