Contact Information

Computer Science Department
Colgate University
McGregory Hall, 3rd Floor
13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346
(tel) 315.228.7719
Charlotte Jablonski, Administrative Assistant

Event Detail

Department Tea: Security Implications of Hardware Accelerators

Start: Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 11:30 a.m.
End: Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 12:20 p.m.
Location: 319 McGregory Hall

Speaker: Lena Olson, Google

Abstract: Specialized hardware accelerators, including third-party accelerators, can offer system designers high performance and/or low energy. They are increasingly complex and have interesting new abilities, such as sharing a unified memory space with the host system. However, accelerators may contain security vulnerabilities due to design flaws or malicious intent. I will give an overview of some types of threats that may be especially important when considering accelerators. I will then talk about a low-overhead approach to mitigating one particular flaw: incorrect memory accesses to host system memory by the accelerator. We show how accelerators can be forced to respect process memory access permissions as stored in the page table, with a per-accelerator storage overhead of 0.006% the size of physical memory and low (on average, 0.15%) performance overheads.

Bio: Lena Olson received her PhD in Computer Sciences from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. She was advised by Mark Hill. Her dissertation focused on the security and reliability challenges of hardware accelerators, in particular how third-party accelerators can coherently access shared memory while still maintaining safety and security on the host system. Her other research interests included various ways of improving energy efficiency in CPU caches through predicting block reuse behavior. Lena works in Google's Madison office.