University of Central England in Birmingham
Software cache-based side channel attacks present serious threats to modern computer systems. Using caches as a side channel, these attacks are able to derive secret keys used in cryptographic operations through legitimate activities. Among existing countermeasures, software solutions are typically application specific and incur substantial performance overhead. Recent hardware proposals including the Partition-Locked cache (PLcache) and Random-Permutation cache (RPcache), although very effective in reducing performance overhead while enhancing the security level, may still be vulnerable to advanced cache attacks. In this paper, the authors propose three hardware-software approaches to defend against software cache-based attacks - they present different tradeoffs between hardware complexity and performance overhead.