Arm's Morello Research Program Hits Major Milestone
January 27, 2022
The Morello program, a five-year research initiative, involving a consortium led by Arm, was the result of a collaboration that aims to design a new, inherently more secure, Arm-based computing platform for the future.
The Morello program is a collaboration between Arm, University of Cambridge, and other industry leaders. Recently, Morello program hit a new milestone in specifying next generation security.
One of the biggest technological challenges facing us today is trying to effectively secure the world’s data. To alleviate some pressure from security stress, Arm has been collaborating with the University of Cambridge on its CHERI architecture, defining what hardware capabilities would provide a fundamentally more secure building block for software.
A major component of the research project is Arm’s design and build of a system on a chip (SoC) and demonstrator board which contains the first example of the Morello prototype architecture. Morello prototype boards are ready for software developers and security specialists to start using to demonstrate the enhanced security that can be achieved with hardware capabilities.
According to Arm, “the limited-edition boards are based on the Morello prototype architecture embedded into an Armv8.2-A processor (an adaptation of the Arm Neoverse N1 processor). The boards are being distributed to major stakeholders such as Google and Microsoft as well as to interested partners across the industry and academia via the UKRI Digital Security by Design (DSbD) initiative. These partners represent a broad ecosystem of specialists to test the hypothesis of Morello and discover if this is a viable security architecture that could benefit both businesses and consumers in the future.”
This is a new hardware capability technology within a high-performance CPU. The Morello prototype board opens opportunities for researchers to assess and test security benefits in real-world scenarios.
“Memory safety exploits are one of the longest standing and most challenging problems in all of software security,” said David Weston, Director of Enterprise and OS Security, Microsoft. “Using core silicon architecture to eliminate whole classes of security issues with minimal performance impact has the opportunity to be transformative with massive positive impact, I am incredibly excited about the Morello project.”
For more information on the Morello project, please visit arm.com.