Issue No. 01 - Jan.-June (2016 vol. 15)
Lena E. Olson , Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Simha Sethumadhavan , Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, New York, NY
Mark D. Hill , Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Third-party accelerators offer system designers high performance and low energy without the market delay of in-house development. However, complex third-party accelerators may include vulnerabilities due to design flaws or malicious intent that are hard to expose during verification. Rather than react to each new vulnerability, it is better to proactively build defenses for classes of attacks. To inspire future work on defenses, this paper develops a taxonomy of accelerator vulnerabilities. We consider the cross product of threat types (confidentiality, integrity, and availability) with risk categories (configuration, computation, termination, accelerator memory accesses, system memory accesses, microarchitecture/coherence, exceptions/interrupts, and power), as well as whether processes can be vulnerable only if they use the offending accelerator (accelerator-scope threat) or even when running in the same system (system-scope threat). Our taxonomy draws attention to a grave problem that needs immediate attention from computer architects.
Hardware, Coherence, Taxonomy, Cryptography, Computer bugs, Registers
L. E. Olson, S. Sethumadhavan and M. D. Hill, "Security Implications of Third-Party Accelerators," in IEEE Computer Architecture Letters, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 50-53, 2016.