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Field Stripping a Weapons System: Building a Trustworthy Computer

October 2019 Poster
Gabriel Somlo

This poster describes research to determine the feasibility of rebuilding a weapons system from source code.


Software Engineering Institute


The DoD finds itself increasingly reliant on COTS systems for mission critical applications. In particular, the length and opacity of the hardware supply chain presents a large attack surface for the insertion of hardware-based privilege escalation vulnerabilities that can lead to a total system compromise even in the theoretical presence of completely bug-free software. This project demonstrates the feasibility of field stripping a computer by rebuilding it from complete hardware, software, and compiler tool chain source code.