Conditional address propagation

Proceedings of the 59th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference(2022)

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摘要
Speculative execution is a critical technique in modern high performance processors. However, continuously exposed transient execution attacks, including Spectre and Meltdown, disclosed a large attack surface in mispredicted execution. Current state-of-the-art defense strategy blocks all memory accesses that use addresses loaded speculatively. However, propagation of base addresses is common in general applications and we find that more than 60% blocked memory accesses use propagated base rather than offset addresses. Therefore, we propose a novel hardware defense mechanism, named Conditional Address Propagation, to identify safe base addresses through taint tracking and address checking by a History Table. Then, the safe base addresses are allowed to be propagated to retrieve performance. For remaining unsafe addresses, they cannot be propagated for security. We constructed experiments on cycle-accurate Gem5 simulator. Compared to the representative study, STT, our mechanism effectively decreases the performance overhead from 13.27% to 1.92% targeting Spectre-type and 19.66% to 5.23% targeting all-type cache-based transient execution attacks.
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关键词
conditional,propagation,address
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