Enabling the Future Internet for Smart Cities

Enabling the Future Internet for Smart Cities

Robust Covert Channels Based on DRAM Power Consumption

To improve the energy efficiency of computing systems, modern CPUs provide registers that give estimates on the power consumption. However, the ability to read the power consumption introduces one class of security concerns called covert channels, which are communication channels that enable one process to transmit a message to another one in a system where these processes were meant to be isolated. Our contribution consists in the first covert channel in which messages are transmitted by modulating the DRAM power consumption. The channel implementation outperforms similar proposals, achieving 1800 bps with 10% error, and 2400 bps with 15% error, when running on a notebook and on a desktop platforms, respectively, To test its robustness against application interference, we considered the channel’s performance when running concurrently with different benchmarks: MRBench, Terasort and LINPACK. When running on the notebook, the channel is fairly robust, achieving between 300 and 600 bps with around 10% error depending on the workload considered.