A survey of Intel SGX and its applications

Wei Zheng, Ying Wu, Xiaoxue Wu, Chen Feng, Yulei Sui, Xiapu Luo, Yajin Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a comprehensive survey on the development of Intel SGX (software guard extensions) processors and its applications. With the advent of SGX in 2013 and its subsequent development, the corresponding research works are also increasing rapidly. In order to get a more comprehensive literature review related to SGX, we have made a systematic analysis of the related papers in this area. We first search through five large-scale paper retrieval libraries by keywords (i.e., ACM Digital Library, IEEE/IET Electronic Library, SpringerLink, Web of Science, and Elsevier Science Direct). We read and analyze a total of 128 SGX-related papers. The first round of extensive study is conducted to classify them. The second round of intensive study is carried out to complete a comprehensive analysis of the paper from various aspects. We start with the working environment of SGX and make a conclusive summary of trusted execution environment (TEE). We then focus on the applications of SGX. We also review and study multifarious attack methods to SGX framework and some recent security improvements made on SGX. Finally, we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of SGX with some future research opportunities. We hope this review could help the existing and future research works on SGX and its application for both developers and users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153808
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalFrontiers of Computer Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • cloud computing
  • Intel SGX
  • trusted execution environment
  • TrustZone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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