GuardION: Practical Mitigation of DMA-Based Rowhammer Attacks on ARM [chapter]

Victor van der Veen, Martina Lindorfer, Yanick Fratantonio, Harikrishnan Padmanabha Pillai, Giovanni Vigna, Christopher Kruegel, Herbert Bos, Kaveh Razavi
2018 Lecture Notes in Computer Science  
Over the last two years, the Rowhammer bug transformed from a hard-to-exploit DRAM disturbance error into a fully weaponized attack vector. Researchers demonstrated exploits not only against desktop computers, but also used single bit flips to compromise the cloud and mobile devices, all without relying on any software vulnerability. Since hardware-level mitigations cannot be backported, a search for software defenses is pressing. Proposals made by both academia and industry, however, are
more » ... impractical to deploy, or insufficient in stopping all attacks: we present rampage, a set of DMA-based Rowhammer attacks against the latest Android OS, consisting of (1) a root exploit, and (2) a series of app-to-app exploit scenarios that bypass all defenses. To mitigate Rowhammer exploitation on ARM, we propose guardion, a lightweight defense that prevents DMA-based attacks-the main attack vector on mobile devices-by isolating DMA buffers with guard rows. We evaluate guardion on 22 benchmark apps and show that it has a negligible memory overhead (2.2 MB on average). We further show that we can improve system performance by re-enabling higher order allocations after Google disabled these as a reaction to previous attacks.
doi:10.1007/978-3-319-93411-2_5 fatcat:3d4h2rmbijcphbk64zf5staxoi