LLC Cache Attacks: Applicability and Countermeasures

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Monday, January 30, 2017 - 1:30pm2:00pm

Gorka Irazoqui, Intel and Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Cache attacks have been demonstrated to be a big concern for security code designers by being able to recover a wide range of information, ranging from cryptographic keys to user privacy-related information. These attacks take advantage of the fact that two processes are utilizing the same hardware resource, thus leveraging unexpected leakages that can be exploited by a malicious user. More specifically, Last Level Cache (LLC) attacks make use of the fact that the LLC is shared across cores, thus being able to steal information from users located in different cores. This presentation describes the approaches that Flush and Reload and Prime and Probe take, together with the requirements that they need to successfully be launched. In addition, we evaluate different examples of everyday usage software that can be targeted by these kinds of attacks to violate our privacy. Further, this presentation expands on the scenarios in which both attacks can succeed, including but not limited to, IaaS and PaaS co-located VMs/processes, Web browsing javascript attacks, trusted execution environment attacks or cross smartphone application attacks. Finally, we evaluate the effectiveness of possible preventions at different levels of the system, including network level, software level, OS/hypervisor level, and hardware level countermeasures.

Gorka Irazoqui, Intel and Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Gorka Irazoqui received his BSC (2011) and MSC (2013) in telecommunications from Tecnun Universidad de Navarra, in Spain. He will start his 4th year as a PhD student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts under the supervision of Thomas Eisenbarth. His research topics are microarchitectural side-channel attacks and countermeasures in the cloud. He spent the summer of 2016 doing an internship at Intel.

This is a joint work with Xiaofeo Guo (Intel Corporation).

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@conference {202503,
author = {Gorka Irazoqui},
title = {{LLC} Cache Attacks: Applicability and Countermeasures},
year = {2017},
address = {Oakland, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jan

Presentation Video