Paper 2016/1196

MASCAT: Stopping Microarchitectural Attacks Before Execution

Gorka Irazoqui, Thomas Eisenbarth, and Berk Sunar


Microarchitectural attacks have gained popularity in recent years since they use only standard resources, e.g. memory and cache access timing. Such privileges are available to applications at the lowest privilege levels. Further, microarchitectural attacks have proven successful on shared cloud instances across VMs, on smartphones with sandboxing, and on numerous embedded platforms. Given the rise of malicious code in app stores and in online repositories it becomes essential to scan applications for such stealthy attacks. We present a static code analysis tool, MASCAT , capable of scanning for ever evolving microarchitectural attacks. Our proposed tool MASCAT can be used by app store service providers to perform large scale fully automated analysis of applications. The initial MASCAT suite is built to include attack vectors to cover popular cache/DRAM access attacks and Rowhammer. Further, our tool is easily extensible to cover newer attack vectors as they emerge.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
Microarchitectural attackscache attacksstatic code analysis
Contact author(s)
teisenbarth @ wpi edu
2017-01-13: revised
2017-01-01: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Gorka Irazoqui and Thomas Eisenbarth and Berk Sunar},
      title = {{MASCAT}: Stopping Microarchitectural Attacks Before Execution},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2016/1196},
      year = {2016},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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