Demystifying The Secure Enclave Processor

by Tarjei Mandt, Mathew Solnik, David Wang
Sept. 15, 2017 1 comment belen_caty

The secure enclave processor (SEP) was introduced by Apple as part of the A7 SOC with the release of the iPhone 5S, most notably to support their fingerprint technology, Touch ID. SEP is designed as a security circuit configured to perform secure services for the rest of the SOC, with with no direct access from the main processor. In this presentation, we aim to shed some light on the secure enclave processor and SEPOS. In particular, we look at the hardware design and boot process of the secure enclave processor, as well as the SEPOS architecture itself. We also detail how the iOS kernel and the SEP exchange data using an elaborate mailbox mechanism, and how this data is handled by SEPOS and relayed to its services and applications. Last, but not least, we evaluate the SEP attack surface and highlight some of the findings of our research, including potential attack vectors.

Steven Ulm 8 months ago

I would have loved to find out more details about the SEPOS architecture itself. General but good!