Oops..! I Glitched It Again! How to Multi-Glitch the Glitching-Protections on ARM TrustZone-M


Xhani Marvin Saß, Richard Mitev, and Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi, Technical University of Darmstadt


Voltage Fault Injection (VFI), also known as power glitching, has proven to be a severe threat to real-world systems. In VFI attacks, the adversary disturbs the power-supply of the target-device forcing the device to illegitimate behavior. Various countermeasures have been proposed to address different types of fault injection attacks at different abstraction layers, either requiring to modify the underlying hardware or software/firmware at the machine instruction level. Moreover, only recently, individual chip manufacturers have started to respond to this threat by integrating countermeasures in their products. Generally, these countermeasures aim at protecting against single fault injection (SFI) attacks, since Multiple Fault Injection (MFI) is believed to be challenging and sometimes even impractical.

In this paper, we present μ-Glitch, the first Voltage Fault Injection (VFI) platform which is capable of injecting multiple, coordinated voltage faults into a target device, requiring only a single trigger signal. We provide a novel flow for Multiple Voltage Fault Injection (MVFI) attacks to significantly reduce the search complexity for fault parameters, as the search space increases exponentially with each additional fault injection. We evaluate and showcase the effectiveness and practicality of our attack platform on four real-world chips, featuring TrustZone-M:

The first two have interdependent backchecking mechanisms, while the second two have additionally integrated countermeasures against fault injection. Our evaluation revealed that μ-Glitch can successfully inject four consecutive faults within an average time of one day. Finally, we discuss potential countermeasures to mitigate VFI attacks and additionally propose two novel attack scenarios for MVFI.

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@inproceedings {287274,
author = {Xhani Marvin Sa{\ss} and Richard Mitev and Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi},
title = {Oops..! I Glitched It Again! How to {Multi-Glitch} the {Glitching-Protections} on {ARM} {TrustZone-M}},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {6239--6256},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity23/presentation/sass},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug