From random block corruption to privilege escalation: A filesystem attack vector for rowhammer-like attacks

Authors: 

Anil Kurmus, Nikolas Ioannou, Matthias Neugschwandtner, Nikolaos Papandreou, and Thomas Parnell, IBM Research Zurich

Abstract: 

Rowhammer demonstrated that non-physical hardware-weakness-based attacks can be devastating. In a recent paper, Cai et al. [2] propose that similar attacks can be performed on MLC NAND flash. In this paper, we discuss the requirements for a successful, full-system, local privilege escalation attack on such media, and show a filesystem based attack vector. We demonstrate the filesystem layer of this attack, showing that a random block corruption of a carefully chosen block is sufficient to achieve privilege escalation. In particular, to motivate the assumptions of this filesystem-level attack, we show the attack primitive that an attacker can obtain by making use of cell-to-cell interference is quite weak, and therefore requires a carefully crafted attack at the OS layer for successful exploitation.

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

BibTeX
@inproceedings {206176,
author = {Anil Kurmus and Nikolas Ioannou and Matthias Neugschwandtner and Nikolaos Papandreou and Thomas Parnell},
title = { From random block corruption to privilege escalation: A filesystem attack vector for rowhammer-like attacks},
booktitle = {11th {USENIX} Workshop on Offensive Technologies ({WOOT} 17)},
year = {2017},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/woot17/workshop-program/presentation/kurmus},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
}