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Software Seminar Series (S3)

Pepe Vila

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

12:00pm Meeting room 302 (Mountain View), level 3

Pepe Vila, PhD Student, IMDEA Software Institute

Theory and Practice of Finding Eviction Sets


Many micro-architectural attacks rely on the capability of an attacker to efficiently find small eviction sets: groups of virtual addresses that map to the same cache set. This capability has become a decisive primitive for cache sidechannel, rowhammer, and speculative execution attacks. Despite their importance, algorithms for finding small eviction sets have not been systematically studied in the literature. In this talk, we perform such a systematic study. We begin by formalizing the problem and analyzing the probability that a set of random virtual addresses is evicting. We then present novel algorithms, based on ideas from threshold group testing, that reduce random eviction sets to their minimal core in linear time, improving over the quadratic state-of-the-art. We complement the theoretical analysis of our algorithms with a rigorous empirical evaluation in which we identify and isolate factors that affect their reliability in practice, such as adaptive replacement strategies and TLB thrashing. Our results indicate that our algorithms enable finding small eviction sets much faster than before, and under conditions where this was previously deemed impractical.

Time and place:
12:00pm Meeting room 302 (Mountain View), level 3
IMDEA Software Institute, Campus de Montegancedo
28223-Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain

Software Seminar Series (S3) - Winter 2018