Uniform Secure Service Signature


Miklos Balint


Arm Limited


Miklos Balint <miklos.balint@arm.com>

Declaring secure service interface

The following alternative secure service signature is proposed as an amendment to existing implementation.

Individual signatures - current method

A <service_name>_veneers.c file is created in the secure_fw/ns_callable directory, that specifies the signature for each veneer function, and calls the secure function from the veneers. The respective interface/include/<service_name>_veneers.h file with the veneer declarations have to be created and maintained manually. Note that at present TF-M framework limits the range of valid return values a secure service can provide, reserving a range for framework error codes.

Uniform signatures - proposal

The proposal is to use a uniform signature for all the secure functions of the secure service. There are multiple advantages of this method:

  • TF-M Core can do a sanity check on the access rights of the veneer parameters, and there is no need for the secure services to make these checks individually. Please note that in the present implementation sanity check is only fully supported for level 1 isolation.

  • The veneer declarations and implementations for the secure functions can be generated automatically from a template (using the secure function list in the secure service’s manifest)

The signature for such secure services would look like this:

psa_status_t secure_function_name(struct psa_invec *in_vec, size_t in_len,
                                  struct psa_outvec *out_vec, size_t out_len);


Return value:

psa_status_t is a status code whose values are described in PSA Firmware Framework (as in version 1.0-beta-0 chapter 4.3.3).


The return value limitations imposed by TF-M framework for proprietary secure service veneers would not apply to secure services using the uniform signature. This is analogous to how PSA Firmware Framework handles values returned by psa_reply() function.


 * A read-only input memory region provided to a RoT Service.
typedef struct psa_invec {
    const void *base;   /*!< the start address of the memory buffer */
    size_t len;         /*!< the size in bytes */
} psa_invec;

 * A writable output memory region provided to a RoT Service.
typedef struct psa_outvec {
    void *base;         /*!< the start address of the memory buffer */
    size_t len;         /*!< the size in bytes */
} psa_outvec;

 * in_len: the number of input parameters, i.e. psa_invecs
 * out_len: the number of output parameters, i.e. psa_outvecs

The number of vectors that can be passed to a secure service is constrained:

in_len + out_len <= PSA_MAX_IOVEC

The veneer function declarations and implementations are generated in the interface/include/tfm_veneers.h and secure_fw\ns_callable\tfm_veneers.c files respectively. The veneer functions are created with the name tfm_<secure_function_name>_veneer

Services that implement the uniform signature do not need to manually fill the template veneer function to call TFM_CORE_SFN_REQUEST macro.


Note that the proposal is for the two types of services (those with proprietary signatures and those with uniform signatures) to co-exist, with the intention of eventually phasing out proprietary signatures in favour of the more robust, uniform signature.

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