Information leakage on shared hardware: Evolutions in recent hardware and applications to virtualization

Maurice, Clémentine

In a virtualized environment, the hypervisor provides isolation at the software level, but shared infrastructure makes attacks possible at the hardware level. Side and covert channels are well-known issues of shared hardware, and in particular shared processors. However, they rely on microarchitectural features that are changing with the different generations of hardware. The last years have also shown the rise of General-Purpose computing on Graphics Processing Units (GPGPU), coupled to so-called cloud environments.

This thesis explores these recent evolutions and their consequences in terms of information leakage in virtualized environments. We first investigate the recent processor microarchitectures. Our first contribution is C5, a cross-core cache covert channel, evaluated between virtual machines. Following this work, our second contribution is the reverse engineering of the complex addressing function of the last-level cache of Intel processors, rendering the class of cache attacks highly practical. In the last part, we investigate the security of GPU virtualization. Our third contribution shows that virtualized environments are susceptible to information leakage from the GPU memory.


Digital Security
Eurecom Ref:
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