G6 Exposing Speculative Execution Side Channel Methods: What You Should Know and What You Should Do
Date & Time
Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 9:40 AM - 10:30 AM
Antonio Gomez

Speculative execution side channel methods have received significant attention from the media, security professionals, computing enthusiasts, and other people involved in the technology industry. But once we get past the names of these methods, what do we know about them? How do they differ from traditional side channel methods? What do they do? Who do they affect? What should you do if your system is affected?

These are complex methods that use advanced techniques to try to exploit architectural and microarchitectural structures and optimizations to leak secret data. Changing hardware that is already in production and used in the real world to react to these methods is difficult, if not impossible. Modifications in software are more agile and allow us to mitigate against potential attacks while maintaining the benefits of hardware optimizations. The session will dive into the technical details of the software solutions implemented to mitigate these issues, as well as coordinated vulnerability disclosure and how it has helped the industry address these challenges.

The session will also provide a set of recommendations that can be implemented in production systems to reduce their exposure to potential implementations of these methods.

  • Speculative execution side channel methods
  • Microcode and kernel mitigations
  • Techniques for cloud and shared computing environments

Technical Level: High

Session Type
Main Conference Session