On Aggregation of Information in Timing Attacks presented at IEEEEuroS&P 2019

by Boris Köpf, Itsaka Rakotonirina,

Summary : A key question for characterizing a system's vulnerability against timing attacks is whether or not it allows an adversary to aggregate information about a secret over multiple timing measurements. Existing approaches for reasoning about this aggregate information rely on strong assumptions about the capabilities of the adversary in terms of measurement and computation, which is why they fall short in modeling, explaining, or synthesizing real-world attacks against cryptosystems such as RSA or AES. In this paper we present a novel model for reasoning about information aggregation in timing attacks. The model is based on an a novel abstraction of timing measurements that better captures the capabilities of real-world adversaries, and a notion of compositionality of programs that explains attacks by divide-and-conquer. Our model thus lifts important limiting assumptions made in prior work and enables us to give the first uniform explanation of high-profile timing attacks in the language of information-flow analysis.