A Framework for Building Secure, Scalable, Networked Enclaves

Philipp Winter (Brave Software), Ralph Giles (Brave Software), Alex Davidson (Brave Software), Gonçalo Pestana (Brave Software) | Networks , Privacy

In 2020, Amazon introduced Nitro enclaves—cloud-based secure enclaves that do not share hardware with untrustworthy code, therefore promising resistance against side channel attacks, which have plagued Intel’s SGX for years. While their security properties are attractive, Nitro enclaves are difficult to write code for and are not meant to be used as a networked service, which greatly limits their potential. In this paper, we built a framework that allows for convenient and flexible use of Nitro enclaves by abstracting away complex aspects like remote attestation and end-to-end encryption between an enclave and a remote client. We demonstrate the practicality of our framework by designing and implementing two production-grade systems that solve real-world problems: remotely verifiable IP address pseudonymization and private telemetry. Our practical experience suggests that our framework enables quick prototyping, is flexible enough to accommodate different use cases, and inherits strong security and performance properties from the underlying Nitro enclaves.

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