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Improving the efficiency of thermal covert channels in multi-/many-core systems

Improving the efficiency of thermal covert channels in multi-/many-core systems
Improving the efficiency of thermal covert channels in multi-/many-core systems

In many-core chips seen in mobile computing, data center, AI, and elsewhere, thermal covert channels could be established to transmit data (e.g., passwords), supposedly to be kept secret and private. Effectiveness of a thermal covert channel, measured by its transmission rate and bit error rate (BER), is so much dependent on the thermal noise/interference imposed on the channel. In this paper, we present a few techniques to improve the capacity of thermal covert channel by overcoming the thermal interference. In particular, data in a thermal covert channel are encoded and represented following a new thermal signaling scheme where logic value, 0 or 1, modules the thermal signals duty cycle. Next, we show in this study that proper selection of transmission frequency can significantly minimize thermal interference. In addition, we propose a robust end-to-end communication protocol for reliable communications. Our experiments have confirmed that, compared to an existing thermal covert channel attack [1] [2], a thermal covert channel enhanced with all the improvements proposed in this study is seeing significant BER reduction (by as much as 75%), and transmission rate boost (by more than threefold). Building such a strong thermal covert channel is the key step towards developing robust defense and countermeasures against information leaking over thermal covert channel.

1459-1464
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Long, Zijun
0fc2afc0-7bb8-4449-8e05-03bcc662c505
Wang, Xiaohang
95ffd2f0-3e1f-4cbe-8067-b600d6a08f75
Jiang, Yingtao
4d583f6f-1706-4732-9a66-9cc2eb803464
Cui, Guofeng
c25dfcd3-c8c2-4369-bd56-4e064a4f1d75
Zhang, Li
c5b6583e-272b-45dd-a822-d68ed63b6d1b
Mak, Terrence
0f90ac88-f035-4f92-a62a-7eb92406ea53
Long, Zijun
0fc2afc0-7bb8-4449-8e05-03bcc662c505
Wang, Xiaohang
95ffd2f0-3e1f-4cbe-8067-b600d6a08f75
Jiang, Yingtao
4d583f6f-1706-4732-9a66-9cc2eb803464
Cui, Guofeng
c25dfcd3-c8c2-4369-bd56-4e064a4f1d75
Zhang, Li
c5b6583e-272b-45dd-a822-d68ed63b6d1b
Mak, Terrence
0f90ac88-f035-4f92-a62a-7eb92406ea53

Long, Zijun, Wang, Xiaohang, Jiang, Yingtao, Cui, Guofeng, Zhang, Li and Mak, Terrence (2018) Improving the efficiency of thermal covert channels in multi-/many-core systems. In Proceedings of the 2018 Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference and Exhibition, DATE 2018. vol. 2018-January, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. pp. 1459-1464 . (doi:10.23919/DATE.2018.8342241).

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

In many-core chips seen in mobile computing, data center, AI, and elsewhere, thermal covert channels could be established to transmit data (e.g., passwords), supposedly to be kept secret and private. Effectiveness of a thermal covert channel, measured by its transmission rate and bit error rate (BER), is so much dependent on the thermal noise/interference imposed on the channel. In this paper, we present a few techniques to improve the capacity of thermal covert channel by overcoming the thermal interference. In particular, data in a thermal covert channel are encoded and represented following a new thermal signaling scheme where logic value, 0 or 1, modules the thermal signals duty cycle. Next, we show in this study that proper selection of transmission frequency can significantly minimize thermal interference. In addition, we propose a robust end-to-end communication protocol for reliable communications. Our experiments have confirmed that, compared to an existing thermal covert channel attack [1] [2], a thermal covert channel enhanced with all the improvements proposed in this study is seeing significant BER reduction (by as much as 75%), and transmission rate boost (by more than threefold). Building such a strong thermal covert channel is the key step towards developing robust defense and countermeasures against information leaking over thermal covert channel.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 19 March 2018
Published date: 23 April 2018
Venue - Dates: 2018 Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference and Exhibition, , Dresden, Germany, 2018-03-19 - 2018-03-23

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423237
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423237
PURE UUID: 641468e7-fcdf-4304-8c1f-7016beab518b

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Sep 2018 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 00:17

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Contributors

Author: Zijun Long
Author: Xiaohang Wang
Author: Yingtao Jiang
Author: Guofeng Cui
Author: Li Zhang
Author: Terrence Mak

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