RT-Sniper: A Low-Overhead Defense Mechanism Pinpointing Cache Side-Channel Attacks


Since cache side-channel attacks have been serious security threats to multi-tenant systems, there have been several studies to protect systems against the attacks. However, the prior studies have limitations in determining only the existence of the attack and/or occupying too many computing resources in runtime. We propose a low-overhead pinpointing solution, called RT-Sniper, to overcome such limitations. RT-Sniper employs a two-level filtering mechanism to minimize performance overhead. It first monitors hardware events per core and isolates a suspected core to run a malicious process. Then among the processes running on the selected core, RT-Sniper pinpoints a malicious process through a per-process monitoring approach. With the core-level filtering, RT-Sniper has an advantage in overhead compared to the previous works. We evaluate RT-Sniper against Flush+Reload and Prime+Probe attacks running SPEC2017, LMBench, and PARSEC benchmarks on multi-core systems. Our evaluation demonstrates that the performance overhead by RT-Sniper is negligible (0.3% for single-threaded applications and 2.05% for multi-threaded applications). Compared to the previous defense solutions against cache side-channel attacks, RT-Sniper exhibits better detection performance with lower performance overhead.

MDPI Electronics (Volume: 10)
Gunjae Koo
Gunjae Koo
Associate Professor