Séminaire ICE “Microarchitectural Vulnerabilities -Assessment and Mitigation”


Access-driven Cache Side-Channel Attacks (CSCAs) are strong cryptanalysis techniques that break cryptographic algorithms by targeting their implementations. Most of the existing mitigation approaches against CSCAs heavily compromise performance benefits. Therefore, to find a security vs performance trade-off, we  argue in favor of need-based protection in this presentation, which will allow the operating system to apply mitigation only after successful detection of CSCAs. Thus, detection can serve as a first line of defense against such attacks. This presentation introduces a novel OS-level runtime detection-based mitigation mechanism, against CSCAs in general-purpose operating systems. The detection-based mitigation mechanism is also able to work on recently reported computational attacks like Spectre and Meltdown, which exploit the residual micro-architectural cache states that are left after speculative execution. Toward the end of the presentation, we will discuss the initiatives and perspectives to make future systems secure.

Maria MUSHTAQ is an Associate Professor at Telecom Paris in Safe and secure Hardware group (SSH) of COMELEC Department. She received her PhD in Information Security from the University of South Brittany (UBS), France, in 2019. She has worked as a CNRS Postdoctoral Researcher at LIRMM, University of Montpellier (UM), France. She possesses expertise in microarchitectural vulnerability assessment and design & development of runtime mitigation solutions against side- and covert-channel information leakage in modern computing systems. Her research interests mainly focus on cryptanalysis, constructing and validating software security components, and constructing OS-based security primitives against various hardware vulnerabilities.