Diminisher: A Linux Kernel based Countermeasure for TAA Vulnerability - Département Communications et Electronique Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2022

Diminisher: A Linux Kernel based Countermeasure for TAA Vulnerability


TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA) vulnerability is a class of Side-Channel Attack (SCA) that allows an application to leak data from internal CPU buffers through asynchronous Transactional Synchronization Extension (TSX) aborts that are exploited by the recent Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) attacks. Cross-core TAA attacks can be prevented through microcode updates where CPU buffers are flushed during Operating System (OS) context switching, but there is no solution to our knowledge that exists for hyper-threaded TAA attacks in which the attacker leaks data from sibling hardware threads through asynchronous abort. In this work, we have proposed Diminisher, a Linux kernel-based detection and mitigation solution for both hyper-threaded and cross-core TAA attacks. Diminisher can be logically divided into three phases, i.e., scheduling, detection, and mitigation. Diminisher is a lightweight tool to prevent TAA vulnerability. The novelty lies in the methodology that we propose enabling easy extensions to cover other hyper-threaded attacks for which no satisfactory solutions exist yet. Diminisher detects and mitigates the TAA attacks around 99% of the time at a low-performance overhead of 2.5%.
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Dates and versions

hal-03372868 , version 1 (11-10-2021)



Ameer Hamza, Maria Mushtaq, Muhammad Khurram Bhatti, David Novo, Florent Bruguier, et al.. Diminisher: A Linux Kernel based Countermeasure for TAA Vulnerability. CPS4CIP 2021 - 2nd International Workshop on Cyber-Physical Security for Critical Infrastructures Protection, Oct 2021, virtual event, Germany. pp.477-495, ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-95484-0_28⟩. ⟨hal-03372868⟩
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