How to Misuse, Use, and Mitigate Side Channels in Virtualized Environments

Distinguished Lecturer
Speaker's Name: 
Mike Reiter
Speaker's From Label: 
Department of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Date & Time: 
Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 12:30pm
Nichols 126
Talk Summary: 

A side channel is an attack against (usually) a cryptographic
algorithm that leverages aspects of the algorithm's implementation,
versus relying entirely on its abstract design or underlying
assumptions. Side channels have been studied for decades but have
received renewed attention due to the increasing use of virtualization
to isolate mutually distrustful virtual machines (VMs) from each other
(e.g., in clouds), thereby highlighting the question of whether modern
virtualization techniques do an adequate job of isolating VMs against
side-channel attacks from their co-tenants. In this talk we will answer
this question in the negative, and then paradoxically show how side
channels can be used constructively to help defend cloud-resident VMs
from abuse by others. Finally, we will describe a novel design for
cloud environments to mitigate potential sources of side channels.

Brief Biography: 

Michael Reiter is the Lawrence M. Slifkin Distinguished Professor in the
Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill (UNC). He received the B.S. degree in mathematical sciences
from UNC in 1989, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science
from Cornell University in 1991 and 1993, respectively. He joined AT&T
Bell Labs in 1993 and became a founding member of AT&T Labs – Research
when NCR and Lucent Technologies (including Bell Labs) were split away
from AT&T in 1996. He then returned to Bell Labs in 1998 as Director of
Secure Systems Research. In 2001, he joined Carnegie Mellon University
as a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer
Science, where he was also the founding Technical Director of CyLab. He
joined the faculty at UNC in 2007.

Dr. Reiter's research interests include all areas of computer and
communications security and distributed computing. He regularly
publishes and serves on conference organizing committees in these
fields. He served as program chair for the flagship computer security
conferences of the IEEE, the ACM, and the Internet Society; as
Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Information and System Security;
and on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Software
Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, the
International Journal of Information Security, and Communications of the
ACM. He also served on the Emerging Technology and Research Advisory
Committee for the United States Department of Commerce for four years.