Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) 2018

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Analyzing Cache Side Channels Using Deep Neural Networks

Cache side-channel attacks aim to breach the confidentiality of a computer system and extract sensitive secrets through CPU caches. In the past years, different types of side-channel attacks targeting a variety of cache architectures have been demonstrated. Meanwhile, different defense methods and systems have also been designed to mitigate these attacks. However, quantitatively evaluating the effectiveness of these attacks and defenses has been proven challenging. We propose a generic approach to evaluating cache side-channel attacks and defenses. Specifically, our method builds a deep neural network with its inputs as the adversary's observed information, and its outputs as the victim's execution traces. By training the neural network, the relationship between the inputs and outputs can be automatically discovered. As a result, the prediction accuracy of the neural network can serve as a metric to quantify how much information the adversary can obtain correctly, and how effective a defense solution is in reducing the information leakage under different attack scenarios. Our evaluation suggests that the proposed method can effectively evaluate different attacks and defenses.

Tianwei Zhang
Amazon Web Services
United States

Yinqian Zhang
The Ohio State University
United States

Ruby Lee
Princeton University
United States


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