Boston Linux & UNIX was originally founded in 1994 as part of The Boston Computer Society. We meet on the third Wednesday of each month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Building E51.

Side Channel Attacks on Modern Hardware

Date and Time

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm


MIT Building E-51, Room 315


Shankar Viswanathan , AMD Semiconductor - shankar.viswan gmail com


A survey of known attacks that exploit hardware vulnerabilities


A lot of performance features in modern CPUs are being used to mount attacks on the processor. This talk survey some of the types of attacks that have been demonstrated so far with a primer on the micro-architectural features that are being used to mount such attacks. It will also include a discussion of other types of attacks that can be used to glean secrets if one has physical access to the hardware.


Shankar Viswanathan is a chip architect at AMD and currently works on the performance architecture for AMD semi-custom APUs. He has worked on the design and verification of several generations of AMD processors, most recently on the APUs used in the various XBox One and PS4 variants. He also spent a year at a software startup developing a thin hypervisor for run-time malware detection.


  1. Update your software today. Seriously. (CNN Tech, 2018-01-04)
  2. Notes from the Intelpocalypse (LWN, 2018-01-04)
  3. KPTI: The new kernel feature to mitigate "meltdown"

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