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Shuffler: Mitigate Cross-VM Side-Channel Attacks via Hypervisor Scheduling

  • Li LiuEmail author
  • An Wang
  • WanYu Zang
  • Meng Yu
  • Menbai Xiao
  • Songqing Chen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 254)

Abstract

Cloud computing relies on resources sharing to achieve high resource utilization and economy of scale. Meanwhile, contention on shared resources opens doors for co-located virtual machines (VMs) to have negative impacts on each other, and even introduces vulnerabilities such as information leakage. For example, via CPU cache-based side-channel attacks, an attacker VM can extract crypto keys from a victim VM.

To cost-effectively secure the cloud against those threats without sacrificing resource sharing, in this paper, we first investigate the factors that can impact the success of such attacks. Our investigation reveals that the root cause of such attacks is the constant sharing patterns of hardware resources between VMs. Based on our findings, we quantify the negative impacts a VM can have on another VM on the same machine using the vulnerable probability, and propose lightweight and generic scheduler-based defense mechanisms called Shuffler schedulers, which can effectively limit the vulnerable probability of all VMs. The key is that distributing CPU time to vCPUs with equal probability would reduce the overall vulnerable probability of the system. Our analyses and experimental results show that the Shuffler schedulers can effectively reduce information leakage to mitigate cross-VM side-channel attacks, with little performance penalty while preserving high resource utilization.

Notes

Acknowledgment

We appreciate constructive comments from anonymous referees. This work is partially supported by an ARO grant W911NF-15-1-0262, a NIST grant 70NANB16H166. and NSF grants CNS-1422355, CNS-1524462, and CNS-1634441.

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Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • An Wang
    • 1
  • WanYu Zang
    • 2
  • Meng Yu
    • 3
  • Menbai Xiao
    • 1
  • Songqing Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.TAMU at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  3. 3.University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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