Sciweavers

Share
USS
2008

Lest We Remember: Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys

9 years 9 months ago
Lest We Remember: Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys
Contrary to popular assumption, DRAMs used in most modern computers retain their contents for several seconds after power is lost, even at room temperature and even if removed from a motherboard. Although DRAMs become less reliable when they are not refreshed, they are not immediately erased, and their contents persist sufficiently for malicious (or forensic) acquisition of usable full-system memory images. We show that this phenomenon limits the ability of an operating system to protect cryptographic key material from an attacker with physical access. We use cold reboots to mount successful attacks on popular disk encryption systems using no special devices or materials. We experimentally characterize the extent and predictability of memory remanence and report that remanence times can be increased dramatically with simple cooling techniques. We offer new algorithms for finding cryptographic keys in memory images and for correcting errors caused by bit decay. Though we discuss severa...
J. Alex Halderman, Seth D. Schoen, Nadia Heninger,
Added 02 Oct 2010
Updated 02 Oct 2010
Type Conference
Year 2008
Where USS
Authors J. Alex Halderman, Seth D. Schoen, Nadia Heninger, William Clarkson, William Paul, Joseph A. Calandrino, Ariel J. Feldman, Jacob Appelbaum, Edward W. Felten
Comments (0)
books