Security testing of a secure cache design

Fangfei Liu, Ruby B. Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cache side channel attacks are attacks that leak secret information through physical implementation of cryptographic operations, nullifying cryptographic protection. Recently, these attacks have received great interest. Previous research found that software countermeasures alone are not enough to defend against cache side channel attacks. Secure cache designs can thwart the root causes of cache side channels and are more efficient. For instance, Newcache is a cache design that can enhance security, performance and power efficiency simultaneously through dynamic memory-cache remapping and eviction randomization. However, these cache designs seldom had their security verified experimentally by mounting cache side channel attacks on them. In this paper, we test the security of Newcache using representative classes of cache side channel attacks proposed for conventional set-Associative caches. The results show that Newcache can defeat all these attacks. However, what if a very knowledgeable attacker crafted the attack strategy targeting the secure cache's design? We redesign the attacks specifically for Newcache. The results show that Newcache can defeat even crafted access-driven attacks specifically targeted at it but sometimes succumbs to the specifically crafted timing attacks, which is due to a very subtle vulnerability in its replacement algorithm. We further secure Newcache by modifying its replacement algorithm slightly, thus defeating these specifically crafted timing attacks. In addition, the improved Newcache simplifies the replacement algorithm in the original Newcache design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Hardware and Architectural Support for Security and Privacy, HASP 2013
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Print)9781450321181
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Event2nd International Workshop on Hardware and Architectural Support for Security and Privacy, HASP 2013 - Tel-Aviv, Israel
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 24 2013

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Other

Other2nd International Workshop on Hardware and Architectural Support for Security and Privacy, HASP 2013
CountryIsrael
CityTel-Aviv
Period6/23/136/24/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software

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