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page.title=Verifying Boot
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<div id="qv-wrapper">
<div id="qv">
<h2>In this document</h2>
<ol id="auto-toc">
</ol>
</div>
</div>
<h2 id=objective>Objective</h2>
<p>Verified boot guarantees the integrity of the device software starting from a
hardware root of trust up to the system partition. During boot, each stage
verifies the integrity and authenticity of the next stage before executing it.</p>
<p>This capability can be used to warn users of unexpected changes to the
software when they acquire a used device, for example. It will also provide an
additional signal of device integrity for remote attestation, and together with
encryption and Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) root of trust binding, adds
another layer of protection for user data against malicious system software.</p>
<p>Note that if verification fails at any stage, the user must be visibly
notified and always be given an option to continue using the device at
their own discretion.</p>
<h2 id=glossary>Glossary</h2>
<p class="table-caption" id="table1">
<strong>Table 1.</strong> Glossary of terms related to verified boot</p>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
<p><strong>Term</strong></p>
</td>
<td>
<p><strong>Definition</strong></p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p>Boot state</p>
</td>
<td>
<p>The boot state of the device describes the level of protection provided to the
end user if the device boots. Boot states are GREEN, YELLOW, ORANGE, and RED.</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p>Device state</p>
</td>
<td>
<p>The device state indicates how freely software can be flashed to the device.
Device states are LOCKED and UNLOCKED.</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p>dm-verity</p>
</td>
<td>
<p>Linux kernel driver for verifying the integrity of a partition at runtime using
a hash tree and signed metadata.</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p>Keystore</p>
</td>
<td>
<p>A keystore is a signed collection of public keys.</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p>OEM key</p>
</td>
<td>
<p>The OEM key is a fixed, tamper-protected key available to the bootloader that
must be used to verify the boot image.</p>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<h2 id=overview>Overview</h2>
<p>In addition to device state - which already exists in devices and controls
whether the bootloader allows new software to be flashed - we introduce the
concept of boot state that indicates the state of device integrity.</p>
<h3 id=classes>Classes</h3>
<p>We define two implementation classes for verified boot depending on how
fully the device implements this specification, as follows:</p>
<p><strong>Class A</strong> implements verified boot with full chain of trust
up to verified partitions. This implementation must support the LOCKED device
state, and GREEN and RED boot states.</p>
<p><strong>Class B</strong> implements Class A and additionally supports the
UNLOCKED device state and the ORANGE boot state.</p>
<h3 id=verification_keys>Verification keys</h3>
<p>Bootloader integrity must be verified using a hardware root of trust. For
verifying boot and recovery partitions, the bootloader must have a fixed OEM key
available to it. It must always attempt to verify the boot partition using the OEM
key first and try other possible keys only if this verification fails.</p>
<p>In Class B implementations, it must be possible for the user to flash
software signed with other keys when the device is UNLOCKED. If the device is
then LOCKED and verification using the OEM key fails, the bootloader must try
verification using the certificate embedded in the partition signature.
However, using a partition signed with anything other than the OEM key must
result in a notification or a warning, as described below.</p>
<h3 id=boot_state>Boot state</h3>
<p>A verified device will ultimately boot into one of four states during each boot
attempt:</p>
<ul>
<li>GREEN, indicating a full chain of trust extending from the bootloader to
verified partitions, including the bootloader, boot partition, and all verified
partitions.
<li>YELLOW, indicating the boot partition has been verified using the
embedded certificate, and the signature is valid. The bootloader is required to
display a notification and the fingerprint of the public key during boot.
<li>ORANGE, indicating a device may be freely modified. Device integrity is
left to the user to verify out-of-band. The bootloader must display a warning
to the user before allowing the boot process to continue.
<li>RED, indicating the device has failed verification. The bootloader must
display a warning to the user before allowing the boot process to continue.
</ul>
<p>The recovery partition must also be verified in the exact same way.</p>
<h3 id=device_state>Device state</h3>
<p>The device is required to be in one of two states at all times:</p>
<ol>
<li>LOCKED, indicating the device cannot be flashed. A LOCKED device must
boot into the GREEN, YELLOW, or RED states during any attempted boot.
<li>UNLOCKED, indicating the device may be flashed freely and is not intended
to be verified. An UNLOCKED device must always boot to the ORANGE boot state.
</ol>
<img src="../images/verified_boot.png" alt="Verified boot flow" id="figure1" />
<p class="img-caption"><strong>Figure 1.</strong> Verified boot flow</p>
<h2 id=detailed_design>Detailed design</h2>
<p>Achieving full chain of trust requires support from both the bootloader and the
software on the boot partition, which is responsible for mounting further
partitions. Verification metadata must also be appended to the system partition
and any additional partitions whose integrity should be verified.</p>
<h3 id=bootloader_requirements>Bootloader requirements</h3>
<p>The bootloader is the guardian of the device state and is responsible for
initializing the TEE and binding its root of trust.</p>
<p>Most importantly, the bootloader must verify the integrity of the boot and/or
recovery partition before moving execution to the kernel and display the
warnings specified in the section <a href="#boot_state">Boot state</a>.</p>
<h4 id=changing_device_state>Changing device state</h4>
<p>State changes are performed using the <code>fastboot flashing [unlock |
lock]</code> command. And to protect user data, <strong>all</strong>
state transitions require a data wipe. Note the user must be asked for
confirmation before data is deleted.</p>
<ol>
<li>The UNLOCKED to LOCKED transition is anticipated when a user buys a used
development device. As a result of locking the device, the user should have
confidence that it is in a state produced by the OEM.
<li>The LOCKED to UNLOCKED transition is expected in the case where a developer
wishes to disable verification on the device.
</ol>
<p>Requirements for <code>fastboot</code> commands that alter device state are listed in the table below:</p>
<p class="table-caption" id="table2">
<strong>Table 2.</strong> <code>fastboot</code> commands</p>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
<p><strong><code>fastboot</code> command</strong></p>
</td>
<td>
<p><strong>Requirements</strong></p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<code>
flashing lock</code></td>
<td>
<ul>
<li>Wipe data after asking the user for confirmation
<li>Clear a write-protected bit indicating the device is unlocked
</ul>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<code>
flashing unlock</code></td>
<td>
<ul>
<li>Wipe data after asking the user for confirmation
<li>Set a write-protected bit indicating the device is unlocked
</ul>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<p>When altering partition contents, the bootloader must check the bits set by
the above commands as described in the following table:</p>
<p class="table-caption" id="table3">
<strong>Table 3.</strong> <code>fastboot</code> command requirements</p>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
<p><strong><code>fastboot</code> command</strong></p>
</td>
<td>
<p><strong>Requirements</strong></p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<code>
flash &lt;partition&gt;</code></td>
<td>
<p>If the bit set by <code>flashing unlock</code> is set, flash the
partition. Otherwise, do not allow flashing.<p>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<p>The same checks should be performed for any <code>fastboot</code> command
that can be used to change the contents of partitions.</p>
<p class="note"><strong>Note</strong>: Class B implementations must support
changing device state.</p>
<h4 id=binding_tee_root_of_trust>Binding TEE root of trust</h4>
<p>If TEE is available, the bootloader should pass the following information to
the TEE to bind the Keymaster root of trust, after partition verification and
TEE initialization:</p>
<ol>
<li>the public key that was used to sign the boot partition
<li>the current device state (LOCKED or UNLOCKED)
</ol>
<p>This changes the keys derived by the TEE. Taking disk encryption as an example,
this prevents user data from being decrypted when the device state changes.</p>
<p class="note"><strong>Note:</strong> This means if the system software or the
device state changes, encrypted user data will no longer be accessible as the
TEE will attempt to use a different key to decrypt the data.</p>
<h4 id=booting_into_recovery>Booting into recovery</h4>
<p>The recovery partition should be verified in exactly the same manner as the
boot partition.</p>
<h4 id=comm_boot_state>Communicating boot state</h4>
<p>System software needs to be able to determine the verification status of
previous stages. The bootloader must specify the current boot state as a
parameter on the kernel command line (or through the device tree under
<code>firmware/android/verifiedbootstate</code>) as described in the table
below:</p>
<p class="table-caption" id="table4">
<strong>Table 4.</strong> Kernel command line parameters</p>
<table>
<tr>
<th>Kernel command line parameter</th>
<th>Description</th>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><code>androidboot.verifiedbootstate=green</code></td>
<td>Device has booted into GREEN boot state.<br>
Boot partition has been verified using the OEM key and its valid.</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><code>androidboot.verifiedbootstate=yellow</code></td>
<td>Device has booted into YELLOW boot state.<br>
Boot partition has been verified using the certificate embedded into
the signature and its valid.</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><code>androidboot.verifiedbootstate=orange</code></td>
<td>Device has booted into ORANGE boot state.<br>
The device is unlocked and no verification has been performed.</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><code>androidboot.verifiedbootstate=red</code></td>
<td>Device has booted into RED boot state.<br>
The device has failed verification.</td>
</tr>
</table>
<h3 id=boot_partition>Boot partition</h3>
<p>Once execution has moved to the boot partition, the software there is responsible
for setting up verification of further partitions. Due to its large size, the
system partition typically cannot be verified similarly to previous parts but must be
verified as its being accessed instead using the dm-verity kernel driver or a
similar solution.</p>
<p>If dm-verity is used to verify large partitions, the signature of the verity
metadata appended to each verified partition must be verified before the
partition is mounted and dm-verity is set up for it.</p>
<h4 id=managing_dm-verity>Managing dm-verity</h4>
<p>By default, dm-verity operates in enforcing mode and verifies each block read
from the partition against a hash tree passed to it during setup. If it
comes across a block that fails to verify, it returns an I/O error and makes
the block with unexpected contents inaccessible to user space. Depending on
which block is corrupted, this may cause some of the programs that reside on
the partition to malfunction.</p>
<p>Using an optional verity table parameter, dm-verity can be configured to
function in logging mode. If dm-verity is not started in enforcing mode for any
reason, or verity metadata cannot be verified, a warning must be displayed to
the user, similar to the one shown before booting into the RED state.</p>
<img src="../images/dm-verity_mgmt.png" alt="dm-verity management" id="figure2" />
<p class="img-caption"><strong>Figure 2.</strong> dm-verity management</p>
<h4 id=recovering_from_dm-verity_errors>Recovering from dm-verity errors</h4>
<p>Since the system partition is by far larger than the boot partition, the
probability of verification errors is also higher. Specifically, there is a
larger probability of unintentional disk corruption, which will cause a
verification failure and can potentially make an otherwise functional device
unusable if a critical block in the partition can no longer be accessed.</p>
<p>Its generally not possible to distinguish disk corruption from malicious
changes, so any change to the system partition must result in the user being
notified; and no unverified data must leak to user space until a warning has
been shown. However, we must also assume most verification failures are
not the result of malicious behavior; so the user must also have an option to
continue using the device without verification.</p>
<p>When a dm-verity error is detected, the device must be rebooted and
dm-verity must be started in logging mode during all subsequent restarts until
any of the verified partitions is reflashed or changed by an OTA update. This
means dm-verity state should be stored in a persistent flag. When a verified
partition has been changed, the flag must be cleared and dm-verity must again
be started in enforcing mode. Anytime dm-verity is not started in enforcing
mode, a warning must be shown to the user before any of the verified partitions
are mounted.</p>
<h3 id=verified_partition>Verified partition</h3>
<p>In a verified device, the system partition must always be verified. But any
other read-only partition should also be set to be verified, as well. Any
read-only partition that contains executable code must be verified on a
verified device. This includes vendor and OEM partitions, if they exist, for example.</p>
<p>In order for a partition to be verified, signed verity metadata must be
appended to it. The metadata consists of a hash tree of the partition contents
and a verity table containing signed parameters and the root of the hash tree.
If this information is missing or invalid when dm-verity is set up for the
partition, the user must be warned.</p>
<h2 id=implementation_details>Implementation details</h2>
<h3 id=key_types_and_sizes>Key types and sizes</h3>
<p>The OEM key is recommended to be an RSA key with a modulus of 2048 bits or
higher and a public exponent of 65537 (F4). The OEM key is required to be of
equivalent or greater strength than such a key.</p>
<h3 id=signature_format>Signature format</h3>
<p>The signature on an Android verifiable boot image is an ASN.1 DER-encoded
message, which can be parsed with a decoder similar to the one found at: <a
href="https://android.googlesource.com/platform/bootable/recovery/+/f4a6ab27b335b69fbc419a9c1ef263004b561265/asn1_decoder.cpp">platform/bootable/recovery/asn1_decoder.cpp</a><br/>
The message format itself is as follows:</p>
<pre>
AndroidVerifiedBootSignature DEFINITIONS ::=
BEGIN
FormatVersion ::= INTEGER
Certificate ::= Certificate OPTIONAL
AlgorithmIdentifier ::= SEQUENCE {
algorithm OBJECT IDENTIFIER,
parameters ANY DEFINED BY algorithm OPTIONAL
}
AuthenticatedAttributes ::= SEQUENCE {
target CHARACTER STRING,
length INTEGER
}
Signature ::= OCTET STRING
END
</pre>
<p>The <code>Certificate</code> field is the full X.509 certificate containing
the public key used for signing, as defined by <a
href="http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5280#section-4.1.1.2">RFC5280</a> section
4.1. When LOCKED, the bootloader must always use the OEM key for verification
first, and only boot to YELLOW or RED states if the embedded certificate is
used for verification instead.</p>
<p>The remaining structure is similar to that defined by <a
href="http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5280#section-4.1.1.2">RFC5280</a> sections
4.1.1.2 and 4.1.1.3 with the exception of the
<code>AuthenticatedAttributes</code> field. This field contains the length of
the image to be verified as an integer and the partition where the image can
be found (boot, recovery, etc.).</p>
<h3 id=signing_and_verifying_an_image>Signing and verifying an image</h3>
<p>To produce a signed image:</p>
<ol>
<li>Generate the unsigned image.
<li>0-pad the image to the next page size boundary (omit this step if already
aligned).
<li>Populate the fields of the <code>AuthenticatedAttributes</code> section
above based on the padded image and desired target partition.
<li>Append the <code>AuthenticatedAttributes</code> structure above to the image.
<li>Sign the image.
</ol>
<p>To verify the image:</p>
<ol>
<li>Determine the size of the image to be loaded including padding (eg, by reading
a header).
<li>Read the signature located at the offset above.
<li>Validate the contents of the <code>AuthenticatedAttributes</code> field.
If these values do not validate, treat it as a signature validation error.
<li>Verify the image and <code>AuthenticatedAttributes</code> sections.
</ol>
<h3 id=user_experience>User experience</h3>
<p>A user in the GREEN boot state should see no additional user interaction besides that
required by normal device boot. In other boot states, the user must see a
warning for at least five seconds. Should the user interact with the device during
this time, the warning must remain visible at least 30 seconds longer, or until
the user dismisses the warning.</p>
<p>Sample user interaction screens for other states are shown in the following table:</p>
<p class="table-caption" id="table5">
<strong>Table 5.</strong> Sample user interaction screens</p>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
<p><strong>Device state</strong></p>
</td>
<td>
<p><strong>Sample UX</strong></p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p>YELLOW (before and after user interaction)</p>
</td>
<td>
<img src="../images/boot_yellow1.png" alt="Yellow device state 1" id="figure4" />
<p class="img-caption"><strong>Figure 4.</strong> Yellow state example 1 UI</p>
</td>
<td>
<img src="../images/boot_yellow2.png" alt="Yellow device state 2" id="figure5" />
<p class="img-caption"><strong>Figure 5.</strong> Yellow state example 2 UI</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p>ORANGE</p>
</td>
<td>
<img src="../images/boot_orange.png" alt="Orange device state" id="figure6" />
<p class="img-caption"><strong>Figure 6.</strong> Orange state example UI</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p>RED</p>
</td>
<td>
<img src="../images/boot_red.png" alt="Red device state" id="figure7" />
<p class="img-caption"><strong>Figure 7.</strong> Red state example UI</p>
</td>
</tr>
</table>