tree: 9d5fc785bfb722e6f1c1479bb84fc75c03d2d908 [path history] [tgz]
  2. avb_aftl_types.h
  3. avb_aftl_util.c
  4. avb_aftl_util.h
  5. avb_aftl_validate.c
  6. avb_aftl_validate.h
  7. avb_aftl_verify.c
  8. avb_aftl_verify.h
  9. avb_ops_aftl.h
  10. libavb_aftl.h

Android Firmware Transparency Log 1.0

This repository contains tools and libraries for working with the Android Firmware Transparency Log components of Android Verified Boot. AFTL will be used to refer to these components.

What is it?

The Android Firmware Transparency Log (AFTL) is an implementation of binary transparency that leverages cryptographic proofs of inclusion of build images using a public append-only ledger. The device manufacturer stores these cryptographic proofs, called inclusion proofs, on-device to allow for offline validation of the build during system update and device boot. This ensures that only a publicly known build is running on the device. Furthermore, it allows device manufacturers and other interested parties to audit the information in the log to detect unexpected or malicious uses of the publisher's signing keys.

System overview

An AFTL can be implemented using a Trillian instance which manages a Merkle tree with build metadata (particularly the VBMeta struct) and keeps a repository of other data that were made transparent.

Android Firmware Transparency Log system overview

As part of the finalizing step in the build process the aftltool reaches out to the AFTL personality to submit a manufacturer-signed message (containing VBMeta struct and other metadata) to the AFTL. Then the AFTL personality submits that data to Trillian to incorporate it into the Merkle tree. After integration into the log, the AFTL personality returns the inclusion proof back to the aftltool, which in turn incorporates the inclusion proof with the VBMeta image.

The AFTL uses two sets of keys for authentication and validation, the transparency log key and the manufacturer key.

  • Transparency log key: Used by Trillian to sign inclusion proofs. The public key is embedded with the device for on-device for validation.
  • Manufacturer key: Used by OEMs or other build providers to sign submissions sent to the log. This ensures that malicious entries posing as a valid OEM entry cannot be provided to the log. For the log to authenticate messages, the manufacturer key must be shared out-of-band with the AFTL prior to submission.

The AftlImage struct

The central data structure used for AFTL validation is the AftlImage struct. The structure is saved on the vbmeta partition, right after the AvbVBMetaImage struct, as illustrated below.

Overview of the AftlImage structure

This structure contains the AftlImageHeader header that describes the number of inclusion proofs (AftlIcpEntry) represented by this structure. Each inclusion proof has associated metadata, such as the transparency log URL. A high-level description of the structures is given below. See aftltool and libavb_aftl for more details.

Overview of AftlIcpHeader and AftlIcpEntry

Each AftlIcpEntry structure contains the information required to validate an inclusion proof from a specific transparency log server for a given VBMeta structure given the corresponding transparency log public key. The inclusion proof validation process is described in the inclusion proofs section of this document.

Note: A single AftlImage can have multiple inclusion proofs from different transparency logs. This allows the device manufacturer to not rely on a single transparency log, and ensures that the builds represented by the VBMeta structure are deemed transparent in multiple disparate jurisdictions.

Inclusion proofs

An inclusion proof allows a user to prove that a specific VBMeta structure is included in a transparency log. An inclusion proof consists of three parts:

  • A SignedVBMetaPrimaryAnnotation structure containing the hash of the VBMeta structure (and other build meta information) that is signed with the manufacturer key.
  • A set of sibling node hashes (Proof) in a Merkle tree on the path from the leaf node in question, which represents the logged annotation, to the root node.
  • A TrillianLogRootDescriptor structure containing the log's root hash, along with related metadata, which is signed by the transparency log’s private key.

Validation of an inclusion proof can be performed with the following steps, which are implemented in both aftltool and libavb_aftl.

  1. Calculate the hash of the VBMeta structure stored on the device.
  2. Determine if the hash matches the hash stored in the SignedVBMetaPrimaryAnnotation structure inside the AftlImage on device. If it does, continue validation.
  3. Given the set of hashes provided from the transparency log as part of the inclusion proof, attempt to recalculate the root hash. Details of the process can be found here in the Merkle Audit Proofs section.
  4. Check the calculated root hash against the log's root hash from the inclusion proof. If it matches, continue validation.
  5. Finally, verify the log root signature given the calculated root hash and the public key of the transparency log that is stored on device. If the signature is valid, the inclusion proof is valid.

Tools and libraries

This section contains information about the tools and libraries added to AVB repository or modified to include AFTL support.

aftltool and libavb_aftl

The main purpose of aftltool is to add an inclusion proof to an existing vbmeta.img to be used for transparency checks at boot or system update time. This enhanced image is stored in the vbmeta partition or in the vbmeta_a and vbmeta_b slots when using A/B and will still be of minimal size (for out-of-band updates). Creation, query, and verification tasks can be performed with aftltool.

In addition to the aftltool, the libavb library comes with an extension called libavb_aftl. This component performs all verification on the device side related to AFTL and inclusion proofs. That is, it loads the vbmeta partition, checks the VBMeta structure signature, walks through each inclusion proof stored in the AftlImage, and validates them against a trusted transparency log key stored on the device.

This library is intended to be used in both the boot loader and inside Android as part of the OTA client. The main entry point for verification is aftl_slot_verify(), which is intended to be called after vbmeta verification is done via avb_slot_verify().

Files and directories

  • libavb_aftl/
    • An implementation of AFTL inclusion proof validation. This code is designed to be highly portable so it can be used in as many contexts as possible. This code requires a C99-compliant C compiler. Only the content declared in libavb_aftl.h is considered public. The other files are considered internal to the implementation and may change without notice.
  • libavb_aftl/
    • This document.
  • test/
    • Unit tests for libavb_aftl.
  • test/data/
    • Test data for the aftltool and libavb_aftl unit tests.
  • aftltool
    • A symlink to
    • A tool written in Python for working with images related to AFTL.
  • Android.bp
    • Build rules for aftltool, libavb_aftl (a static library for use on the device), host-side libraries (for unit tests), and unit tests.
    • Source-code for aftltool related unit tests.
    • Source-code for aftltool related integration tests against a live transparency log.


The libavb_aftl code is intended to be used in bootloaders in devices that will load Android or other operating systems. The suggested approach is to copy the appropriate header and C files mentioned in the previous section into the boot loader and integrate as appropriate. The library is intended to be highly portable, working on both little and big endian architectures, as well as 32-bit and 64-bit variants of each. It is also intended to work in environments without the standard C library and runtime.

As in libavb, if the AVB_ENABLE_DEBUG preprocessor symbol is set, the code will include useful debug information and run-time checks.

Versioning and compatibility

The libavb_aftl library follows the versioning of libavb.

Using aftltool

The content for the vbmeta partition is assumed to have been generated previously using avbtool. Instructions can be found in the for libavb. After the VBMeta partition is generated, it can be extended with inclusion proofs from transparency logs in the following manner:

aftltool make_icp_from_vbmeta \
      --vbmeta_image_path /path/to/image.bin \
      --output OUTPUT \
      [--signing_helper /path/to/external/signer]  \
      [--signing_helper_with_files /path/to/external/signer_with_files] \
      --version_incremental STR \
      --transparency_log_servers host:port,/path/to/ \
      --manufacturer_key /path/to/priv_key \
      [--padding_size NUM]

The version_incremental is a part of the build fingerprint which allows for tagging the transparency log entry for easier tracking.

An example of how to use the make_icp_from_vbmeta command is as follows:

aftltool make_icp_from_vbmeta \
      --vbmeta_image_path ./vbmeta.img \
      --output ./vbmeta_icp.img \
      --version_incremental 99999999 \
      --transparency_log_servers \,/aftl-log-rsa-pub.pem \
      --manufacturer_key ./manufacturer-rsa.pem \
      --algorithm SHA256_RSA4096 \
      --padding 4096

The AFTL information can be viewed in a human readable format in the following manner:

aftltool info_image_icp \
      --vbmeta_image_path /path/to/image.bin \
      [--output OUTPUT]

An example using info_image_icp is as follows:

aftltool info_image_icp --vbmeta_image_path ./vbmeta.img

Verification of an AFTL enhanced vbmeta image can be performed with the following command:

aftltool verify_image_icp \
      --vbmeta_image_path /path/to/image.bin \
      --transparency_log_pub_keys [TRANSPARENCY_LOG_PUB_KEYS [TRANSPARENCY_LOG_PUB_KEYS ...]] 
[--output OUTPUT]

An example using verify_image_icp is as follows:

aftltool verify_image_icp --vbmeta_image_path ./vbmeta.img --transparency_log_pub_keys ./log_pub_key.pem

More information on the options can be found using aftltool --help.

Build system integration

AFTL modifications only will work if AVB is enabled in the build. In Android, AVB is enabled in an file by the BOARD_AVB_ENABLE variable as described in the AVB

When calling the script, the following parameters must be set:

  • --aftl_tool_path, the location of
  • --aftl_server, the address of the transparency log
  • --aftl_key_path, which gives the path to the DER encoded transparency log public key
  • --aftl_manufacturer_key_path, which gives the path to the DER encoded OEM private key. Note: This key is different to the signing key used to sign VBMeta structure

Remember that the public part of the transparency log keys need to be available to the bootloader of the device to validate the inclusion proofs.

Device integration

This section discusses recommendations and best practices for integrating libavb AFTL support with a device boot loader. It's important to emphasize that these are just recommendations. Most of these recommendations are the same as those for AVB.

Recommended bootflow

The boot flow should ensure checking of the inclusion proofs independent of the unlock state of the device. It is recommended to present the user with a warning in case transparency checks fail.

AFTL modifies this flow in the following manner: as soon as a valid OS has been found, search for an AftlImage for each VBMeta image and validate their inclusion proofs (this is done by the aftl_slot_verify function). The result of the verification can be appended to the kernel command line for further processing by the OS.

Recommended boot flow for a device using AFTL