UEFI Secure Boot


This feature might not be applicable to all Platforms. Please check individual Platform pages, section Supported Features to confirm if this feature is listed as supported.


This section assumes the user has completed the chapter Getting Started and has a functional working environment.

Secure boot is a mechanism to build and maintain a complete chain of trust on all the software layers executed in a system and preventing malicious code to be stored and loaded in place of the authenticated one. When the device starts, the firmware checks the signature of each piece of boot software, including UEFI firmware drivers, EFI applications, and the operating system. If the signatures are valid, the device boots, and the firmware gives control to the operating system. Fundamental to the success of the secure boot is the ability to securely store (also referred to as secure storage) and access the keys used for authentication during the various stages of boot.

Secure boot and Secure storage mechanisms are defined by the UEFI specifications. In short, the UEFI specifications define the use of two asymmetric key pairs, platform key (PK) and Key Exchange Key (KEK), and databases for valid and invalid signatures. These keys and databases are used during the secure boot phase which implies that the platform should provide a tamper proof mechanism to store these keys.

The RD platform software allows validation of the secure boot process. This document explains the procedure to build the platform software stack and validate UEFI secure boot on the RD platforms.

Though secure boot process have to be validated using a linux distribution as the target OS, the RD platform software stack currently limits this feature validation to boot of a signed busybox OS.

Generate key pairs

The one-time generation of the following key pairs is mandatory - PK, KEK, DB and DBX. The following commands can be used to generate these key pairs.

  • Key Pair Creation : PK, KEK, DB and DBX

    cd rd-workspace
    cd tools/efitools
    openssl req -new -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -subj "/CN=PK/" -keyout PK.key -out PK.crt -days 3650 -nodes -sha256
    openssl req -new -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -subj "/CN=KEK/" -keyout KEK.key -out KEK.crt -days 3650 -nodes -sha256
    openssl req -new -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -subj "/CN=DB_Key/" -keyout DB.key -out DB.crt -days 3650 -nodes -sha256
    openssl req -new -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -subj "/CN=DBX_Key/" -keyout DBX.key -out DBX.crt -days 3650 -nodes -sha256
  • Convert crt certificate to der format

    openssl x509 -in PK.crt -outform der -out PK.der
    openssl x509 -in KEK.crt -outform der -out KEK.der
    openssl x509 -in DB.crt -outform der -out DB.der
    openssl x509 -in DBX.crt -outform der -out DBX.der

The signing of the grub and linux images are performed as a part of build script “build-test-secureboot.sh”. There is no explicit user action required to sign these images.

Build the platform software

The procedure to build the platform software stack for secure boot test is listed below.

To build the software stack, the command to be used is

./build-scripts/rdinfra/build-test-secureboot.sh -p <plaform name> <command>

Supported command line options are listed below

  • <platform name>

  • <command>

    • Supported commands are

      • clean

      • build

      • package

      • all (all of the three above)

Examples of the build command are

  • Command to clean, build and package the software stack needed for the secure boot test for RD-N2 platform.

    ./build-scripts/rdinfra/build-test-secureboot.sh -p rdn2 all
  • Command to perform an incremental build of the software components included in the software stack for the RD-N2 platform.

    ./build-scripts/rdinfra/build-test-secureboot.sh -p rdn2 build


This command should be followed by the package command to complete the preparation of the fip and the disk image.

  • Command to package the previously built software stack and prepare the fip and the disk image.

    ./build-scripts/rdinfra/build-test-secureboot.sh -p rdn2 package

Securely boot upto Busybox

After the build of the platform software stack for UEFI secure boot is complete, the following command starts the execution of the selected platform fastmodel and the software boots up to the busybox prompt. Examples on how to use the command are listed below.


The steps to enroll signatures required to successfully secure boot the platform is listed as well. It is important to execute those steps atleast once to validate secure boot support.

To boot up to the busybox prompt, the commands to be used are

  • Set MODEL path before launching the model:

    export MODEL=<absolute path to the platform FVP binary>
  • If platform is SGI-575:

    cd model-scripts/sgi
  • If platform is an RD:

    cd model-scripts/rdinfra
  • Launch busybox boot:

    ./secure_boot.sh -p <platform name> -a <additional_params> -n [true|false]

Supported command line options are listed below

  • -p <platform name>

  • -n [true|false] (optional)

    • Controls the use of network ports by the model. If network ports have to be enabled, use ‘true’ as the option. Default value is set to ‘false’.

  • -a <additional_params> (optional)

    • Specify any additional model parameters to be passed. The model parameters and the data to be passed to those parameters can be found in the FVP documentation.

Example commands to validate the secure boot functionality are as listed below.

  • Command to start the execution of the RD-N2 model to boot up to the Busybox prompt with secure boot enabled:

    ./secure_boot.sh -p rdn2
  • Command to start the execution of the RD-N2 model to boot up to the Busybox prompt with secure boot and network enabled. The model supports virtio.net allowing the software running within the model to access the network:

    ./secure_boot.sh -p rdn2 -n true
  • Command to start the execution of the RD-N2 model with networking enabled and to boot up to the Busybox prompt with secure boot enabled. Additional parameters to the model are supplied using the -a command line parameter:

    ./secure_boot.sh -p rdn2 -n true -a "-C board.flash0.diagnostics=1"

To setup the secure boot process follow the steps listed below on the first boot. Subsequent boots will not need these. Several terminal windows will pop-up in the screen, and the one to interact with has the window title: FVP terminal_ns_uart_ap.

  1. Interrupt the boot at EDK2 by pressing escape key and dropping into the EDK2 boot menu.

  2. Select Device Manager → Secure Boot Configuration → Secure Boot Mode → choose Custom mode and then press enter.

  3. Select “Custom Secure Boot Options” and then press enter.

  4. Select “DBX Options” → “Enroll Signature” then press enter → “Enroll Signature Using File” and then press enter → Select “NO VOLUME LABEL” and then press enter.

  5. Select EFI and press enter → select BOOT and press enter → now Select “DBX.der” and press enter → “Commit Changes and Exit”.

  6. Repeat steps “4” and “5” for “DB options” for “DB.der”.

  7. Repeat steps “4” and “5” for “KEK options” for “KEK.der”.

  8. Repeat steps “4” and “5” for “PK options” for “PK.der”.

  9. Press Escape and press F10 to save. Ensure that the “Current Secure Boot State” is set as “Enabled”.

  10. Press Escape and select the “continue” option.

  11. Prompts the user to press the “Enter”. Press enter key which then reboots the system.

The platform boots up to busybox login prompt with secure boot enabled. If the authentication of the grub or the linux kernel fails, the boot fails and the user is notified about the authentication failure.

To confirm that the boot is indeed a secure boot, the EFI firmware will display messages in the boot log (same window where the secure boot was setup) as shown bellow.

Loading driver at 0x000F50A0000 EntryPoint=0x000F676A188
Loading driver at 0x000F50A0000 EntryPoint=0x000F676A188
EFI stub: Booting Linux Kernel...
EFI stub: EFI_RNG_PROTOCOL unavailable, KASLR will be disabled
EFI stub: UEFI Secure Boot is enabled.
EFI stub: Using DTB from configuration table
EFI stub: Exiting boot services and installing virtual address map...
[    0.000000] Booting Linux on physical CPU 0x0000000000 [0x410fd490]

This completes the validation of the secure boot functionality.