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More recent ARM chips (A9+) come bundled with ARM TrustZone[1]. In a nutshell, the processor has two (hardware) isolated execution environments each running a different OS and different software. By default, the secure environment of TrustZone runs an L4 kernel (edit: this is incorrect, see reply below).

Could it be the case that Apple is leveraging TrustZone but with a customized L4 kernel? Or is it confirmed that the Secure Enclave is a custom IC designed by Apple? I wouldn't be surprised if it's the former as it becomes much cheaper to implement the required security features.

Edit: Check out this previous discussion on this exact topic: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8410700

[1]: https://www.arm.com/products/security-on-arm/trustzone




> By default, the secure environment of TrustZone runs an L4 kernel.

By default no SW runs on HW. "Mobicore" (now called "Kinibi" from Trustonic) is based on L4.


I know that mate, no need to get snarky. What I meant is that it was bundled with the core by default, but thanks for the correction. I thought I read it somewhere, but judging by a quick search, it seems I'm mistaken.


Depends on the HW manufacturer and SKU on what is bundled or not.. Even ROM code can be different per SKU.


TrustZone was announced 2012 (?). The Security Enclave is a separate very Apple designed chip. They've patented aspects of it, dated also 2012:

https://www.blackhat.com/docs/us-16/materials/us-16-Mandt-De... https://www.google.com/patents/US8832465


> TrustZone was announced 2012

No, 2012 was when Trustonic was formed from competing TEE vendors: ARM, Gemalto, and Giesecke & Devrient.

TrustZone has been around since before that. TI OMAP were front-runners of using it.




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