Fine Grain Cross-VM Attacks on Xen and VMware

Gorka Irazoqui, Mehmet Sinan Inci, Thomas Eisenbarth, Berk Sunar


This work exposes further vulnerabilities in virtualized cloud servers by mounting Cross-VM cache attacks in Xen and VMware VMs targeting AES running in the victim VM. Even though there exists a rich literature on cache attacks on AES, so far only a single work, demonstrating a working attack on an ARM platform running a L4Re virtualization layer has been published. Here we show that AES in a number popular cryptographic libraries including OpenSSL, PolarSSL and Libgcrypt are vulnerable to Bernstein’s correlation attack when run in Xen and VMware (bare metal version) VMs, the most popular VMs used by cloud service providers (CSP) such as Amazon and Rackspace. We also show that the vulnerability persists even if the VMs are placed on different cores in the same machine. The results of this study shows that there is a great security risk to AES and (data encrypted under AES) on popular cloud services.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication 2014 IEEE Fourth International Conference on Big Data and Cloud Computing
Number of pages8
Publication date07.04.2014
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4799-6719-3
Publication statusPublished - 07.04.2014
Event4th International Conference on Big Data and Cloud Computing - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 03.12.201405.12.2014


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