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iskip is a set of backend LLVM passes that implements defenses for power glitching attacks. The defenses are: load/store verify, branch duplication and code duplication. iskip targets Cortex-M3 ARM arch.


A working build environment is needed. You should be able to build LLVM 4.0 in your environment.

Building iskip

  1. Run the script ./ The script will download (and patch) the required dependency
  2. Run the script ./ The script will compile the LLVM tree and the iskip LLVM passes. A shared object should be produced (build/lib/

Running iskip

Running the tests

cucumber must be installed. apt-get install cucumber works on Debian based distros. Aruba must be installed: gem install --user-install aruba -v '0.7.4'.

To run the tests

cd t && cucumber

Compile different sources

Several ways can be used to compile code:

  1. clang is the frontend
   ${ISKIP_DIR}/third_party/llvm-install/bin/clang \
      -mllvm -optimize-regalloc=false \
      -mllvm -use-external-regalloc=true \
      -O3 -mllvm -arm-implicit-it=never \
      -Xclang -load -Xclang ${ISKIP_DIR}/build/lib/ \
      -target arm-none-eabi -mcpu=cortex-m3 -mfloat-abi=soft -mthumb`
  1. llc takes *.bc files as input and generates assembly files
   ${ISKIP_DIR}/third_party/llvm-install/bin/llc \
     -optimize-regalloc=false -use-external-regalloc=true \
     -arm-force-fast-isel=false -O3 \
     -march=thumb -mcpu=cortex-m3 -float-abi=soft \
     -load=${ISKIP_DIR}/build/lib/ \
     in.bc -o out.bc.S

Run the tests in verbose mode to see what shell commands are generated:

cd t && V=1 cucumber

Various iskip flags

By default, duplicated code will be emitted for every function. However, there are some useful flags that can be used to customise the way iskip behaves.

 -iskip-check-idempotent-verbose         - Enable Check of Indempotent Instructions
 -iskip-deploy-policy                    - Specify when to deploy the passes.
   =any                                  -   Deploy on every function regardless of annotation. This is the default
   =whitelist                            -   Apply the passes only on the whitelist. Do not apply the passes on other functions
   =blacklist                            -   Do not apply the passes on the blacklist. Apply the passes on other functions.
 -iskip-enable-all-duplication-passes    - Enable all passes to achieve ins duplication.

Use this command to see all the possible flags

     ${ISKIP_DIR}/third_party/llvm-install/bin/llc \
       -load=../build/lib/ \
       -help-hidden | grep iskip


Using annotations, one can enable or disable the effect of passes on specific functions.

Declare a function with __attribute__((annotate("armhardnening=true"))) to include the function in the whitelist or with __attribute__((annotate("armhardnening=false"))) to include the function in the blacklist. Use the flag -iskip-deploy-policy to specify the behavior of iskip in regards to {white,black}list.

void my_func(char *)  __attribute__((annotate("armhardnening=true")));
void my_func(char *p) {
  printf("%s\n", p);


Please note that although some of the authors are (or were) employed by Google, this is not an official Google product.


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