# Threat Model

With its strongest security setting applied, Teaclave guarantees data confidentiality even if all parties along the computation path, privileged or not, are untrusted. This includes:

  • Internet service provider
  • Cloud provider
  • Function provider
  • Other data providers

Specifically, most hardware (memory, disk, motherboard, etc.), operating system (both kernel and software in userland), network channels, and provider employees are untrusted.

Consider the following scenario. A small business needs to employ image classification techniques in its daily production. However, the business does not have the capabilities to train a high-quality machine learning model, nor does it have the hardware resources to host the machine learning infrastructures. Under such circumstances, the only solution is to subscribe to some cloud computing service and run the needed image classification tasks remotely. However, this solution requires the small business to upload its private data to the cloud, which may deeply concerns the business owner and hinders the deployment of such techniques.

With Teaclave, privacy concerns above are no more. The small business can subscribe to the cloud service from company A, rent the machine learning model from company B, and use the deep learning inference engine provided by company C. None of these parties need to trust another, yet the computation can commence with everyone's privacy respected.

In the settings above, the root of trust converges to the enclave manufactures (i.e., Intel) and its SGX-enabled CPU chips. Before the computation starts, Teaclave is booted as a secure SGX enclave on one of these CPUs owned by the cloud service provider. After that, each party can remotely attest the authenticity of the hardware and the integrity of Teaclave platform through attestation service (e.g., Intel Attestation Service). Private data are securely provisioned to the Teaclave enclave only if the attestation passes. After the provision, no privileged software is able to access the memory content owned by the enclave from outside.

The remote attestation functionality implemented by Teaclave is augmented from the method described by a white paper. In a nutshell, enclaves in Teaclave will establish trusted channel on attested TLS for communication. The complicated structure of Teaclave requires additional work for remote attestation, which is explained in details via a separate documentation.

Side channels are out of scope for current Teaclave's implementation. While we acknowledge that existing enclaves may be vulnerable to various kinds of side channel attacks, we will try our best to mitigate existing attacks by adopting software hardening.