Fundamentally Understanding and Solving RowHammer

by   Onur Mutlu, et al.

We provide an overview of recent developments and future directions in the RowHammer vulnerability that plagues modern DRAM (Dynamic Random Memory Access) chips, which are used in almost all computing systems as main memory. RowHammer is the phenomenon in which repeatedly accessing a row in a real DRAM chip causes bitflips (i.e., data corruption) in physically nearby rows. This phenomenon leads to a serious and widespread system security vulnerability, as many works since the original RowHammer paper in 2014 have shown. Recent analysis of the RowHammer phenomenon reveals that the problem is getting much worse as DRAM technology scaling continues: newer DRAM chips are fundamentally more vulnerable to RowHammer at the device and circuit levels. Deeper analysis of RowHammer shows that there are many dimensions to the problem as the vulnerability is sensitive to many variables, including environmental conditions (temperature & voltage), process variation, stored data patterns, as well as memory access patterns and memory control policies. As such, it has proven difficult to devise fully-secure and very efficient (i.e., low-overhead in performance, energy, area) protection mechanisms against RowHammer and attempts made by DRAM manufacturers have been shown to lack security guarantees. After reviewing various recent developments in exploiting, understanding, and mitigating RowHammer, we discuss future directions that we believe are critical for solving the RowHammer problem. We argue for two major directions to amplify research and development efforts in: 1) building a much deeper understanding of the problem and its many dimensions, in both cutting-edge DRAM chips and computing systems deployed in the field, and 2) the design and development of extremely efficient and fully-secure solutions via system-memory cooperation.


page 1

page 2

page 3

page 4


RowHammer and Beyond

We will discuss the RowHammer problem in DRAM, which is a prime (and lik...

Retrospective: Flipping Bits in Memory Without Accessing Them: An Experimental Study of DRAM Disturbance Errors

Our ISCA 2014 paper provided the first scientific and detailed character...

RowPress: Amplifying Read Disturbance in Modern DRAM Chips

Memory isolation is critical for system reliability, security, and safet...

Understanding RowHammer Under Reduced Wordline Voltage: An Experimental Study Using Real DRAM Devices

RowHammer is a circuit-level DRAM vulnerability, where repeatedly activa...

RowHammer: A Retrospective

This retrospective paper describes the RowHammer problem in Dynamic Rand...

Revisiting RowHammer: An Experimental Analysis of Modern DRAM Devices and Mitigation Techniques

In order to shed more light on how RowHammer affects modern and future d...

Mitigating Wordline Crosstalk using Adaptive Trees of Counters

High access frequency of certain rows in the DRAM may cause data loss in...

Please sign up or login with your details

Forgot password? Click here to reset