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In early 2018, Meltdown first showed how to read arbitrary kernel memory from user space by exploiting side-effects from transient instructions. While this attack has been mitigated through stronger isolation boundaries between user and kernel space, Meltdown inspired an entirely new class of fault-driven transient execution attacks. Particularly, over the past year, Meltdown-type attacks have been extended to not only leak data from the L1 cache but also from various other microarchitectural structures, including the FPU register file and store buffer. In this paper, we present the ZombieLoad attack which uncovers a novel Meltdown-type effect in the processor's previously unexplored fill-buffer logic. Our analysis shows that faulting load instructions (i.e., loads that have to be re-issued for either architectural or microarchitectural reasons) may transiently dereference unauthorized destinations previously brought into the fill buffer by the current or a sibling logical CPU. Hence, we report data leakage of recently loaded stale values across logical cores. We demonstrate ZombieLoad's effectiveness in a multitude of practical attack scenarios across CPU privilege rings, OS processes, virtual machines, and SGX enclaves. We discuss both short and long-term mitigation approaches and arrive at the conclusion that disabling hyperthreading is the only possible workaround to prevent this extremely powerful attack on current processors.
|Title of host publication||CCS 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security|
|Publication status||Published - 12 Nov 2019|
|Event||ACM CCS 2019: 26th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security - London, United Kingdom|
Duration: 11 Nov 2019 → 15 Nov 2019
|Conference||ACM CCS 2019|
|Period||11/11/19 → 15/11/19|
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- 1 Talk at conference or symposium