SpyHammer: Using RowHammer to Remotely Spy on Temperature

by   Lois Orosa, et al.

RowHammer is a DRAM vulnerability that can cause bit errors in a victim DRAM row by just accessing its neighboring DRAM rows at a high-enough rate. Recent studies demonstrate that new DRAM devices are becoming increasingly more vulnerable to RowHammer, and many works demonstrate system-level attacks for privilege escalation or information leakage. In this work, we leverage two key observations about RowHammer characteristics to spy on DRAM temperature: 1) RowHammer-induced bit error rate consistently increases (or decreases) as the temperature increases, and 2) some DRAM cells that are vulnerable to RowHammer cause bit errors only at a particular temperature. Based on these observations, we propose a new RowHammer attack, called SpyHammer, that spies on the temperature of critical systems such as industrial production lines, vehicles, and medical systems. SpyHammer is the first practical attack that can spy on DRAM temperature. SpyHammer can spy on absolute temperature with an error of less than 2.5 C at the 90th percentile of tested temperature points, for 12 real DRAM modules from 4 main manufacturers.


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