Protecting Data on Smartphones and Tablets from Memory Attacks

ASPLOS '15 Proceedings of the Twentieth International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems |

Published by ACM Press

Smartphones and tablets are easily lost or stolen. This makes them susceptible to an inexpensive class of memory attacks, such as cold-boot attacks, using a bus monitor to observe the memory bus, and DMA attacks. This paper describes Sentry, a system that allows applications and OS components to store their code and data on the System-on-Chip (SoC) rather than in DRAM. We use ARM-specific mechanisms originally designed for embedded systems, but still present in today’s mobile devices, to protect applications and OS subsystems from memory attacks.