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MIT Invention Builds Memory Walls to Protect Against Meltdown, Spectre Attacks


The Dynamically Allocated Way Guard (DAWG) divides cache into multiple buckets, blocking data leaks and fortifying the channel leveraged for timing attacks.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say they have developed a system that can more effectively protect modern PC architecture against timing vulnerabilities exploited by recent malware like Meltdown and Spectre.

Credit: Vladimir Kiriansky et al.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers continue to refine a system they say can more effectively protect modern PC architecture against timing vulnerabilities exploited by recent malware like Meltdown and Spectre.

The solution involves walling off "protection domains" via "secure way partitioning" in cache memory.

The Dynamically Allocated Way Guard (DAWG) divides cache into multiple buckets, blocking data leaks and fortifying the channel leveraged for timing attacks.

MIT's Vladimir Kiriansky says, "We think this is an important step forward in giving computer architects, cloud providers, and other [information technology] professionals a better way to efficiently and dynamically allocate resources. It establishes clear boundaries for where sharing should and should not happen so that programs with sensitive information can keep that data reasonably secure."

The research was presented this week at the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture (MICRO 18) in Japan.

From ZDNet
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