Code Signing Tool


[OpenTitan Secure Boot][rom-ext-manifest] process consists of several stages. On power-on reset, or wake-up from a deep sleep the execution enters the Mask ROM, which is “baked” into the OpenTitan metal masks. This means that the Mask ROM, once manufactured, cannot be updated. To add a degree of flexibility, in particular to allow for a manufacturer specific configuration and facilities to deliver security updates - OpenTitan design provisions the Extension ROM (ROM_EXT) that lives in the flash memory.

ROM_EXT consists of a manifest and the image itself. When the image is generated - the manifest data is “blank”. The responsibility of the ROM_EXT signer is to update the manifest, sign the image and add the signature to it.


ROM_EXT signer is a host side tool that is written in Rust.

Why Rust?

Rust has been chosen for the reach language and standard library features, as well as incredible and versatile infrastructure. Rust’s Cargo (build/packaging system) and mature community driven database (, makes it easy and cheap (in terms of effort) to find, integrate and use relevant functionality.

This makes rust great for host side tooling

Current state

Please note that this change is work in progress, and can be tracked via:


This tool consist of four major parts:

  • Configuration file and parsing/deserealisation

  • Image manipulation (updating the manifest)

  • Image signing

  • “Receipt” production

Configuration file and parsing/deserialisation

The configuration file is in .hjson format, which is deserialised (turned into Rust structures) using hjson_serde and serde crates.

Configuration file contains data for all of the fields that need updating in the manifest before signing. Some manifest fields are unfeasible to specify in the configuration file - these are binary blobs such as a private key in DER format. Instead the file paths to these are specified.

Please note that some field values are known upfront, however other must be obtained at runtime. Fields like (but not limited to) signature public modulus and signature key public exponent are extracted separately.

Complex fields such as “Peripheral Lockdown Info” have a separate data structure.

Image manipulation (updating the manifest)

The manifest fields must be updated prior to signing, and then the signature itself has to be written into the respective manifest field.

  • Reads the binary image of the disk
  • Reads and parses the configuration of the disk
  • Reads the files specified in the configuration of the disk
  • Updates the manifest fields
  • Signs the updated image
  • Updated the manifest signature field with the generated signature
  • Writes the updated image to disk

Image signing

Signing is done via mundane cryptographic library:

For signing details such as signing scheme, please see manifest documentation.

“Receipt” production