On Tuesdays the USPTO issues new patents. Both of today's Spotlight Patents are assigned to Intertrust and address various aspects of security. The first patent concerns software self-defense systems and methods. The inventors include computer science stars such as Bob Tarjan. The second patent concerns a hardware secure processing unit (SPU).
Systems and methods are disclosed for protecting a computer program from unauthorized analysis and modification. Obfuscation transformations can be applied to the computer program's local structure, control graph, and/or data structure to render the program more difficult to understand and/or modify. Tamper-resistance mechanisms can be incorporated into the computer program to detect attempts to tamper with the program's operation. Once an attempt to tamper with the computer program is detected, the computer program reports it to an external agent, ceases normal operation, and/or reverses any modifications made by the attempted tampering. The computer program can also be watermarked to facilitate identification of its owner. The obfuscation, tamper-resistance, and watermarking transformations can be applied to the computer program's source code, object code, or executable image.
7,430,585, "Secure processing unit systems and methods," assigned to Intertrust.
A hardware Secure Processing Unit (SPU) is described that can perform both security functions and other information appliance functions using the same set of hardware resources. Because the additional hardware required to support security functions is a relatively small fraction of the overall device hardware, this type of SPU can be competitive with ordinary non-secure CPUs or microcontrollers that perform the same functions. A set of minimal initialization and management hardware and software is added to, e.g., a standard CPU/microcontroller. The additional hardware and/or software creates an SPU environment and performs the functions needed to virtualize the SPU's hardware resources so that they can be shared between security functions and other functions performed by the same CPU.