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 fill-buffer logic. Our analysis shows that faulting load instructions (i.e., loads that have to be re-issued) may transiently dereference unauthorized destinations previously brought into the fill buffer by the current or a sibling logical CPU. In contrast to concurrent attacks on the fill buffer, we are the first to report data leakage of recently loaded and stored stale values across logical cores even on Meltdown- and MDS-resistant processors. Hence, despite Intel’s claims , we show that the hardware fixes in new CPUs are not sufficient. We demonstrate ZombieLoad’s effectiveness in a multitude of practical attack scenarios across CPU privilege rings, OS processes, virtualmore »
LVI: Hijacking Transient Execution through Microarchitectural Load Value Injection
The recent Spectre attack first showed how to inject incorrect branch targets into a victim domain by poisoning microarchitectural branch prediction history. In this paper, we generalize injection-based methodologies to the memory hierarchy by directly injecting incorrect, attacker-controlled values into a victim's transient execution. We propose Load Value Injection (LVI) as an innovative technique to reversely exploit Meltdown-type microarchitectural data leakage. LVI abuses that faulting or assisted loads, executed by a legitimate victim program, may transiently use dummy values or poisoned data from various microarchitectural buffers, before eventually being re-issued by the processor. We show how LVI gadgets allow to expose victim secrets and hijack transient control flow. We practically demonstrate LVI in several proof-of-concept attacks against Intel SGX enclaves, and we discuss implications for traditional user process and kernel isolation. State-of-the-art Meltdown and Spectre defenses, including widespread silicon-level and microcode mitigations, are orthogonal to our novel LVI techniques. LVI drastically widens the spectrum of incorrect transient paths. Fully mitigating our attacks requires serializing the processor pipeline with lfence instructions after possibly every memory load. Additionally and even worse, due to implicit loads, certain instructions have to be blacklisted, including the ubiquitous x86 ret instruction. Intel plans compiler and assembler-based more »
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- 2020 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy
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- National Science Foundation
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