Conference paper Open Access
Gruss, Daniel; Maurice, Clémentine; Mangard, Stefan
A fundamental assumption in software security is that a memory location can only be modified by processes that may write to this memory location. However, a recent study has shown that parasitic effects in DRAM can change the content of a memory cell without accessing it, but by accessing other memory locations in a high frequency. This so-called Rowhammer bug occurs in most of today's memory modules and has fatal consequences for the security of all affected systems, e.g., privilege escalation attacks.
All studies and attacks related to Rowhammer so far rely on the availability of a cache flush instruction in order to cause accesses to DRAM modules at a sufficiently high frequency. We overcome this limitation by defeating complex cache replacement policies. We show that caches can be forced into fast cache eviction to trigger the Rowhammer bug with only regular memory accesses. This allows to trigger the Rowhammer bug in highly restricted and even scripting environments.