Internal TTX

Advanced Anti-Debugging Techniques (AADT)

In the ASPIRE FP7 project, Ghent University developed a strong form of anti-debugging protection, based on self-debugging. By including a self-debugger component into an application that needs to be protected against reverse-engineering or tampering, attackers can no longer attach their own debugger. In many cases, this severely complicates attacks. To prevent that attackers detach the self-debugger, part of the original application functionality is migrated into it. Detaching the self-debugger then breaks the application. The developed anti-debugging technology from ASPIRE was already transferred to Nagravision prior to this project, but several potential weaknesses had also been identified, related on the one hand to a lack of stealth in the interfaces between the application and the self-debugger and on the other hand to the fact that they are still coupled loosely, as the self-debugger itself can still be debugged.

Early research results in the Computer Systems Lab at Ghent University hinted that these weaknesses can be overcome, and hence that additional techniques might potentially be of interested to NAGRA. This yielded the raison d'être of this project, namely making the early research results more mature to allow for a better assessment of the potential value for NAGRA.

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Ghent University


TETRAMAX is a Horizon 2020 innovation action within the European Smart Anything Everywhere (SAE) initiative in the domain of customized and low-energy computing for Cyber Physical Systems and the Internet of Things. As a Digital Innovation Hub, TETRAMAX aims to bring added value to European industry, helping to gain competitive advantage through faster digitization. The project partially builds on experiences with the TETRACOM project during 2013-2016. TETRAMAX was launched in Sep 2017 and runs until Aug 2021.