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 Ignat Korchagin at Hardwear USA 2024

Ignat Korchagin

TPMs and the Linux Kernel: unlocking a better path to hardware security

Talk Title:

TPMs and the Linux Kernel: unlocking a better path to hardware security


TPMs have been present in modern laptops and servers for some time now, but their adoption is quite low. While operating systems do provide some security features based on TPMs (think of BitLocker on Windows or dm-verity on Linux) third party applications or libraries usually do not have TPM integrations.

One of the main reasons of low TPM adoption is that interfacing with TPMs is quite hard: there are competing TPM software stacks (Intel vs IBM), lack of key format standardization (currently being worked on) and many operating systems are not set up from the start to make TPM easily available (TPM device file is owned by root or requires privileged group for access). Even with a proper software stack the application may have to deal with low-level TPM communication protocols, which are hard to get right.

In this presentation we will explore a better integration of TPMs with some Linux Kernel subsystems, in particular: kernel keystore and cryptographic API. We will see how it allows the Linux Kernel to expose hardware-based security to third party applications in an easy to use manner by encapsulating the TPM communication complexities as well as providing higher-level use-case based security primitives.

Speaker Bio:

Ignat Korchagin is a systems engineer at Cloudflare working mostly on Linux, platforms and hardware security. Ignat’s interests are cryptography, hacking, and low-level programming. Before Cloudflare, Ignat worked as a senior security engineer for Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Communications Division. His solutions may be found in many older Samsung smart phones and tablets. Ignat started his career as a security researcher in the Ukrainian government’s communications services.