RIDL: Rogue in-flight data load

Stephan Van Schaik, Alyssa Milburn, Sebastian Osterlund, Pietro Frigo, Giorgi Maisuradze, Kaveh Razavi, Herbert Bos, Cristiano Giuffrida

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

672 Downloads (Pure)


We present Rogue In-flight Data Load (RIDL), a new class of speculative unprivileged and constrained attacks to leak arbitrary data across address spaces and privilege boundaries (e.g., process, kernel, SGX, and even CPU-internal operations). Our reverse engineering efforts show such vulnerabilities originate from a variety of micro-optimizations pervasive in commodity (Intel) processors, which cause the CPU to speculatively serve loads using extraneous CPU-internal in-flight data (e.g., in the line fill buffers). Contrary to other state-of-the-art speculative execution attacks, such as Spectre, Meltdown and Foreshadow, RIDL can leak this arbitrary in-flight data with no assumptions on the state of the caches or translation data structures controlled by privileged software. The implications are worrisome. First, RIDL attacks can be implemented even from linear execution with no invalid page faults, eliminating the need for exception suppression mechanisms and enabling system-wide attacks from arbitrary unprivileged code (including JavaScript in the browser). To exemplify such attacks, we build a number of practical exploits that leak sensitive information from victim processes, virtual machines, kernel, SGX and CPU-internal components. Second, and perhaps more importantly, RIDL bypasses all existing 'spot' mitigations in software (e.g., KPTI, PTE inversion) and hardware (e.g., speculative store bypass disable) and cannot easily be mitigated even by more heavyweight defenses (e.g., L1D flushing or disabling SMT). RIDL questions the sustainability of a per-variant, spot mitigation strategy and suggests more fundamental mitigations are needed to contain ever-emerging speculative execution attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP 2019)
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781538666609
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2019
Event40th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2019 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 19 May 201923 May 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy
ISSN (Print)1081-6011


Conference40th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


We would like to thank our shepherd, Hovav Shacham, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback. This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements No. 786669 (ReAct) and No. 825377 (UNI-CORE), by the United States Office of Naval Research (ONR) under contracts N00014-17-1-2782 and N00014-17-S-B010 “BinRec”, by Intel Corporation through the Side Channel Vulnerability ISRA, and by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research through grants NWO 639.023.309 VICI “Dowsing”, NWO 639.021.753 VENI “PantaRhei”, and NWO 016.Veni.192.262. This paper reflects only the authors’ view. The funding agencies are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

FundersFunder number
European Union's Horizon 2020
European Union’s Horizon 2020
NWO 016016
NWO 639.021.753 VENI
NWO 639.021.753 VENI PantaRhei
NWO 639.023.309 VICI639.023.309 VICI
NWO 639.023.309 VICI Dowsing
United States Office of Naval Research
Office of Naval ResearchN00014-17-1-2782, N00014-17-S-B010
Intel Corporation
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme825377, 786669
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk OnderzoekNWO


    • Side-channels
    • Speculative-execution-attacks


    Dive into the research topics of 'RIDL: Rogue in-flight data load'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this