TruSense: Information Leakage From TrustZone

Ning Zhang Virginia Tech & Raytheon Company, USA
Kun Sun George Mason University, USA
Deborah Shands National Science Foundation, USA
Wenjing Lou Virginia Tech & National Science Foundation, USA
Thomas Hou Virginia Tech, USA


With the emergence of Internet of Things, mobile devices are generating more network traffic than ever. TrustZone is a hardware-enabled trusted execution environment for ARM processors. While TrustZone is effective in providing the much-needed memory isolation, we observe that it is possible to derive secret information from secure world using the cache contention, due to its high-performance cache sharing design. In this work, we propose TruSense to study the timing-based cache side-channel information leakage of TrustZone. TruSense can be launched from not only the normal world operating system but also a non-privileged user application. Without access to virtual-to-physical address mapping in user applications, we devise a novel method that uses the expected channel statistics to allocate memory for cache probing. We also show how an attacker might use the less accurate performance event interface as a timer. Using the T-table based AES implementation in OpenSSL 1.0.1f as an example, we demonstrate how a normal world attacker can steal fine-grained secret in the secure world. We also discuss possible mitigations for the information leakage.

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