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This content will become publicly available on November 11, 2022

Title: Indistinguishability Prevents Scheduler Side Channels in Real-Time Systems
Scheduler side-channels can leak critical information in real-time systems, thus posing serious threats to many safety-critical applications. The main culprit is the inherent determinism in the runtime timing behavior of such systems, e.g., the (expected) periodic behavior of critical tasks. In this paper, we introduce the notion of "schedule indistinguishability/", inspired by work in differential privacy, that introduces diversity into the schedules of such systems while offering analyzable security guarantees. We achieve this by adding a sufficiently large (controlled) noise to the task schedules in order to break their deterministic execution patterns. An "epsilon-Scheduler" then implements schedule indistinguishability in real-time Linux. We evaluate our system using two real applications: (a) an autonomous rover running on a real hardware platform (Raspberry Pi) and (b) a video streaming application that sends data across large geographic distances. Our results show that the epsilon-Scheduler offers better protection against scheduler side-channel attacks in real-time systems while still maintaining good performance and quality-of-service(QoS) requirements.
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Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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