Concepts for autonomous control flow checking for embedded CPUs

Daniel Ziener*, Jürgen Teich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we introduce new concepts and methods for checking the correctness of control flow instructions during the execution of programs in embedded CPUs. Detecting and avoiding the execution of faulty control flow instructions is a problem of growing importance w.r.t. reliability and security. On the other hand, hardware cost overheads and an easy integration into the design flow are of utmost important for cost sensitive embedded systems. Our proposed methodology is able to monitor all direct jumps and branches as well as calls and returns form subroutines autonomously during program execution. Furthermore, we propose and evaluate an implementation of an autonomous checker unit which is closely coupled to the processor and can detect and even avoid the execution of a faulty control flow instruction. Upon detection of a faulty instruction, we propose a method to refetch and reexecute the incorrect jump or branch instruction. Other benefits of this novel approach are that the application code must not be changed or augmented by signatures or additional instructions, and that there is no measurable performance impact in terms of execution latency. From the user point of view, our approach is completely transparent to a program developer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAutonomic and Trusted Computing
Subtitle of host publication5th International Conference, ATC 2008, Proceedings
EditorsChunming Rong, Martin Gilje Jaatun, Frode Eika Sandnes, Laurence T. Yang, Jianhua Ma
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-540-69295-9
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event5th International Conference on Autonomic and Trusted Computing, ATC 2008 - Oslo, Norway
Duration: 23 Jun 200825 Jun 2008
Conference number: 5

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume5060 LNCS
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349


Conference5th International Conference on Autonomic and Trusted Computing, ATC 2008
Abbreviated titleATC 2008


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