LiD-CAT: A Lightweight Detector for Cache ATtacks

Cezar Reinbrecht, Said Hamdioui, Mottaqiallah Taouil, Behrad Niazmand, Tara Ghasempouri, Jaan Raik, Johanna Sepulveda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


Cache attacks are one of the most wide-spread and dangerous threats to embedded computing systems' security. A promising approach to detect such attacks at runtime is to monitor the System-on-Chip (SoC) behavior. However, designing a secure SoC capable of detecting such attacks is very challenging: the monitors should be lightweight in order to avoid excessive power/energy and area costs and the attack behavior should be clearly known upfront. In this work, we present LiD-CAT, a lightweight and flexible hardware detector that is aware of leakage patterns that can be used by attackers to perform cache based attacks. LiD-CAT is a cache wrapper that implements a set of leakage properties derived from cache attacks and cache models using templates. These templates identify suspicious behavior that may lead to cache attacks. LiD-CAT is evaluated using two different cache architectures, one with a secure cache and one without. On each of them, SPEC2000 benchmarks are run together with malicious applications that execute cache attacks (i.e., Evict+Time, Prime+Probe, Flush+Reload and Flush+Flush). Results show that our lightweight detector successfully detects 99.99% of the attacks with less than 1% false-positives, has no timing penalties, and increases the area of a SoC with only 1.6%.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE European Test Symposium (ETS)
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-4312-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-4313-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventETS 2020: 2020 IEEE European Test Symposium - Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 25 May 202029 May 2020


ConferenceETS 2020

Bibliographical note

Accepted author manuscript


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