This article proposes a novel mechanism for swarm attestation, i.e., the remote attestation (RA) of a multitude of interconnected devices, also called a swarm of devices. Classical RA protocols work with one prover and one verifier. Swarm attestation protocols assume that the devices in the swarm act both as verifier and prover in order to attest the software integrity of all the devices to a root verifier, typically in a spanning-tree topology. We propose “scalable heterogeneous layered attestation (SHeLA),” a novel RA technique for swarms. Our approach consists of introducing an additional edge layer in between the root verifier and the swarm devices. The edge layer consists of geographically spread devices with a larger computational power and storage capacity than the swarm devices. The main challenges we address are related to the scalability of the swarm, the availability or visibility of the nodes (especially when they are mobile), the heterogeneity of the devices with respect to the wireless communication protocol and interface, and the granularity of the attestation in terms of detecting the sanity of individual swarm devices. We build a proof-of-concept network that allows us to evaluate the computational delay and the resource overhead of the edge and swarm devices, and to perform a thorough security analysis.
Date of Publication: August 2019