Adversaries with physical access to a target platform can perform cold boot or DMA attacks to extract sensitive data from the RAM. To prevent such attacks, hardware vendors announced respective processor extensions. AMD's extension SME will provide means to encrypt the RAM to protect security-relevant assets that reside there. The encryption will protect the user's content against passive eavesdropping. However, the level of protection it provides in scenarios that involve an adversary who cannot only read from RAM but also change content in RAM is less clear. This paper addresses the open research question whether encryption alone is a dependable protection mechanism in practice when considering an active adversary. To this end, we first build a software based memory encryption solution on a desktop system which mimics AMD's SME. Subsequently, we demonstrate a proof-of-concept fault attack on this system, by which we are able to extract the private RSA key of a GnuPG user. Our work suggests that transparent memory encryption is not enough to prevent active attacks.
|Title of host publication||CODASPY 2017 - Proceedings of the 7th ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy|
|Publisher||Association for Computing Machinery, Inc|
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - 22 Mar 2017|
|Event||7th ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy, CODASPY 2017 - Scottsdale, United States|
Duration: 22 Mar 2017 → 24 Mar 2017
|Name||CODASPY 2017 - Proceedings of the 7th ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy|
|Conference||7th ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy, CODASPY 2017|
|Period||22/03/17 → 24/03/17|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The second author is supported by the PQCRYPTO project, which is partially funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 research Programme, grant #645622, by the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC) at the Tel Aviv University, and by the Israel SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No. 1018/16). The fifth author is supported by the Helmholtz Research School on Security Technologies.
© 2017 ACM.
- Fault injection
- Main memory encryption
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Information Systems