Application Attacks

Lastly, Trusted Computing aims at improving the security of the whole platform, not only by providing the building blocks at the lower level of the computing architecture, but also by directly improving the security of applications. Software support such as the TCG Software Stack (TSS) or other security services implemented on top of Trusted Computing capabilities can be used to invoke cryptographic primitives and security management functions directly or create and securely store encryption, decryption, or signing keys. Each application can not only become more robust by relying on robust implementations of these capabilities, but also rely on the underlying software, and, in particular, on the operating system, to enforce security policies and thus prevent unexpected modifications or access.

The difficulty with application attacks comes from the huge diversity of existing applications that not only implement different (and sometimes conflicting) features, but also implement them in a variety of ways that introduce an added level of complexity. We can only list a few of the possible attack vectors here; being exhaustive without entirely devoting this book to this topic would be difficult. Furthermore, the numerous new security capabilities provided by Trusted Computing can be applied in multiple ways to prevent these attack vectors and protect applications.

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