School of Business
microarchitecture, architecture, speculative execution, side channel attack, vulnerability, exploit, spectre, meltdown, zombieload, foreshadow, fallout, intel, amd, arm, apple silicon, x86-64
Information Security | Other Computer Sciences
Hatfield, Nathaniel, "Software-Based Side Channel Attacks and the Future of Hardened Microarchitecture" (2021). Senior Honors Theses. 1059.
Side channel attack vectors found in microarchitecture of computing devices expose systems to potentially system-level breaches. This thesis consists of a comprehensive report on current exploits of this nature, describing their fundamental basis and usage, paving the way to further research into hardware mitigations that may be utilized to combat these and future vulnerabilities. It will discuss several modern software-based side channel attacks, describing the mechanisms they utilize to gain access to privileged information. Attack vectors will be exemplified, along with applicability to various architectures utilized in modern computing. Finally, discussion of how future architectural changes must successfully harden chips against attacks of this type will occur, ending with a reinforced call for development of these integral architectural revisions to resolve the threat.