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Practical Mitigations for Timing-Based Side-Channel Attacks on Modern x86 Processors

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4 Author(s)
Coppens, B. ; Electron. & Inf. Syst. Dept., Ghent Univ., Ghent, Belgium ; Verbauwhede, I. ; De Bosschere, K. ; De Sutter, B.

This paper studies and evaluates the extent to which automated compiler techniques can defend against timing-based side-channel attacks on modern x86 processors. We study how modern x86 processors can leak timing information through side-channels that relate to control flow and data flow. To eliminate key-dependent control flow and key-dependent timing behavior related to control flow, we propose the use of if-conversion in a compiler backend, and evaluate a proof-of-concept prototype implementation. Furthermore, we demonstrate two ways in which programs that lack key-dependent control flow and key-dependent cache behavior can still leak timing information on modern x86 implementations such as the Intel Core 2 Duo, and propose defense mechanisms against them.

Published in:

Security and Privacy, 2009 30th IEEE Symposium on

Date of Conference:

17-20 May 2009