Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/1495

CloudMoles: Surveillance of Power-Wasting Activities by Infiltrating Undercover Sensors

Seyedeh Sharareh Mirzargar and Andrea Guerrieri and Mirjana Stojilović

Abstract: An important security risk in cloud Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) is power wasting, occurring when a design exercises excessive switching activity with the intention to cause voltage-drop related faults in the host FPGA or, in the extreme case, FPGA reset and denial-of-service. In this paper, we introduce the idea of infiltrating undercover sensors for monitoring the fluctuations of FPGA core voltage. Our approach ensures that the shell has full control over sensor placement, done so that FPGA users do not have to sacrifice an inch of their design space nor to be aware that the voltage-fluctuations caused by their design are being monitored. Additionally, we describe how to design voltage-drop sensors that have higher coverage than the state-of-the-art alternatives and experimentally demonstrate that our sensors are indeed able to accurately monitor voltage fluctuations across the entire FPGA. Finally, we propose a novel metric which, after applied on sensor measurements, reveals the location of the source of the highest activity on the FPGA.

Category / Keywords: implementation / location, voltage attack, undercover, sensing, multi-tenant, FPGA

Date: received 29 Nov 2020, last revised 2 Dec 2020

Contact author: mirjana stojilovic at epfl ch

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20201202:085037 (All versions of this report)

Short URL: ia.cr/2020/1495


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