Drammer: Deterministic Rowhammer attacks on mobile platforms

Victor Van Der Veen, Yanick Fratantonio, Martina Lindorfer, Daniel Gruss, Clémentine Maurice, Giovanni Vigna, Herbert Bos, Kaveh Razavi, Cristiano Giuffrida

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Recent work shows that the Rowhammer hardware bug can be used to craft powerful attacks and completely subvert a system. However, existing efforts either describe probabilistic (and thus unreliable) attacks or rely on special (and often unavailable) memory management features to place victim objects in vulnerable physical memory locations. Moreover, prior work only targets x86 and researchers have openly wondered whether Rowhammer attacks on other architectures, such as ARM, are even possible. We show that deterministic Rowhammer attacks are feasible on commodity mobile platforms and that they cannot be mitigated by current defenses. Rather than assuming special memory management features, our attack, Drammer, solely relies on the predictable memory reuse patterns of standard physical memory allocators. We implement Drammer on Android/ARM, demonstrating the practicability of our attack, but also discuss a generalization of our approach to other Linux-based platforms. Furthermore, we show that traditional x86-based Rowhammer exploitation techniques no longer work on mobile platforms and address the resulting challenges towards practical mobile Rowhammer attacks. To support our claims, we present the first Rowhammerbased Android root exploit relying on no software vulnerability, and requiring no user permissions. In addition, we present an analysis of several popular smartphones and find that many of them are susceptible to our Drammer attack. We conclude by discussing potential mitigation strategies and urging our community to address the concrete threat of faulty DRAM chips in widespread commodity platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCCS 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages1675-1689
Number of pages15
Volume24-28-October-2016
ISBN (Electronic)9781450341394
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2016
Event23rd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS 2016 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 24 Oct 201628 Oct 2016

Conference

Conference23rd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS 2016
CountryAustria
CityVienna
Period24/10/1628/10/16

Keywords

  • classmobile
  • classrowhammer

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