Intel Trust Domain Extensions (TDX) is a new architectural extension in the
4th Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processor that supports confidential
computing. TDX allows the deployment of virtual machines in the
Secure-Arbitration Mode (SEAM) with encrypted CPU state and memory, integrity
protection, and remote attestation. TDX aims to enforce hardware-assisted
isolation for virtual machines and minimize the attack surface exposed to host
platforms, which are considered to be untrustworthy or adversarial in the
confidential computing’s new threat model. TDX can be leveraged by regulated
industries or sensitive data holders to outsource their computations and data
with end-to-end protection in public cloud infrastructure.
This paper aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of TDX to potential
adopters, domain experts, and security researchers looking to leverage the
technology for their own purposes. We adopt a top-down approach, starting with
high-level security principles and moving to low-level technical details of
TDX. Our analysis is based on publicly available documentation and source code,
offering insights from security researchers outside of Intel.