HasTEE - Confidential Computing on Trusted Execution Environments with Haskell

Abstract - Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) are hardware en- forced memory isolation units, emerging as a pivotal security solution for security-critical applications. TEEs, like Intel SGX and ARM TrustZone, allow the isolation of confidential code and data within an untrusted host environment, such as the cloud and IoT. Despite strong security guarantees, TEE adoption has been hindered by an awkward programming model. This model requires manual application partitioning and the use of error-prone, memory-unsafe, and potentially information-leaking low-level C/C++ libraries.

We address the above with HasTEE, a domain-specific language (DSL) embedded in Haskell for programming TEE applications. HasTEE includes a port of the GHC runtime for the Intel-SGX TEE. HasTEE uses Haskell’s type system to automatically partition an application and to enforce Information Flow Control on confidential data. The DSL, being embedded in Haskell, allows for the usage of higher-order functions, monads, and a restricted set of I/O operations to write any standard Haskell application. Contrary to previous work, HasTEE is lightweight, simple, and is provided as a simple security library; thus avoiding any GHC modifications. We show the applicability of HasTEE by implementing case studies on federated learning, an encrypted password wallet, and a differentially-private data clean room.

Extended Paper accepted at Haskell Symposium 2023

Arxiv link