[Resource Topic] 2019/1133: Threat Models and Security of Phase-Change Memory

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Threat Models and Security of Phase-Change Memory

Authors: Gang Wang


Emerging non-volatile memories (NVMs) have been considered promising alternatives to DRAM for future main memory design. Among the NVMs, Phase-Change Memory (PCM) can serve as a good substitute due to its low standby power, high density, and good scalability. However, PCM material also induces security design challenges mainly due to its interior non-volatility. Designing the memory system necessitates considering the challenges which may open the backdoor for attackers. A threat model can help to identify security vulnerabilities in design processes. It is all about finding the security problems, and therefore it should be done early in the design and adoption of manufacture. To our knowledge, this paper is the first attempt to thoroughly discuss the potential threat models for the PCM memory, which can provide a good reference for designing the new generation of PCM. Meanwhile, this paper gives security advice and potential security solutions to design a secure PCM to protect against these potential threats.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2019/1133

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