23 years of software side channel attacks

Colin Percival <cperciva@FreeBSD.org>

I will present a historical review of software side channel attacks, from Paul Kocher’s 1996 timing attacks against asymmetric cryptography to the latest microarchitectural vulnerabilities. While there have been too many attacks discovered to spend time describing every one, I will highlight attacks which were particularly novel or influential, explaining both the history of how attacks build on earlier work and some of the reasons behind the decisions which led to these attacks being possible.

No knowledge of cryptography will be assumed, but the audience may benefit from a basic understanding of CPU architecture (instructions, pipelining, caches, etc).

Colin Percival

Dr. Colin Percival has been a FreeBSD developer since 2004, and has served over the years as the project Security Officer, a Core Team member, and most recently as the maintainer of the FreeBSD/EC2 platform. He is also the founder of the Tarsnap online backup service.

On the rare occasions when he steps away from his laptop, he can be found playing violin in an amateur orchestra near to his home in Vancouver, Canada.

  • slides.pdf (517 kb)