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Hardware root of trust

A primary design principle of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is to protect tenants from firmware-based attacks. Threats from the firmware level are becoming more common, which raises the potential risks for public cloud providers. So that each server is provisioned with clean firmware, we’ve implemented a hardware-based root of trust for the process of wiping and reinstalling the server firmware. We use this process every time a new server is provisioned for a tenant or between tenancies, regardless of the instance type.

The hardware-based root of trust is a protected hardware component that’s manufactured to our specification and inspected visually. It’s limited to performing the specific task of wiping and reinstalling firmware. It triggers a power cycle of the hardware host, prompts for the installation of known firmware, and confirms that the process has been performed as expected. This method of firmware installation reduces the risk from firmware-based attacks, such as a permanent denial of service (PDoS) attack or attempts to embed backdoors in the firmware to steal data or make it otherwise unavailable.