A4 Article in conference proceedings
Mitigating Branch-Shadowing Attacks on Intel SGX Using Control Flow Randomization

List of Authors: Hosseinzadeh S, Liljestrand H, Leppänen V, Paverd A
Publisher: ACM
Publication year: 2018
Book title *: Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on System Software for Trusted Execution
ISBN: 978-1-4503-5998-6


Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) is a promising hardware-based technology for protecting sensitive computation from potentially compromised system software. However, recent research has shown that SGX is vulnerable to branch-shadowing -- a side channel attack that leaks the fine-grained (branch granularity) control flow of an enclave (SGX protected code), potentially revealing sensitive data to the attacker. The previously-proposed defense mechanism, called Zigzagger, attempted to hide the control flow, but has been shown to be ineffective if the attacker can single-step through the enclave using the recent SGX-Step framework. Taking into account these stronger attacker capabilities, we propose a new defense against branch-shadowing, based on control flow randomization. Our scheme is inspired by Zigzagger, but provides quantifiable security guarantees with respect to a tunable security parameter. Specifically, we eliminate conditional branches and hide the targets of unconditional branches using a combination of compile-time modifications and run-time code randomization. We evaluated the performance of our approach using ten benchmarks from SGX-Nbench. Although we considered the worst-case scenario (whole program instrumentation), our results show that, on average, our approach results in less than 18% performance loss and less than 1.2 times code size increase.

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 16:31