Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Cache Side-Channel Attacks and Mitigations

Graz University of Technology via edX


In this course, we build upon basic knowledge of software-based timing and cache attacks as well as the side-channel mindset. Same as in the prior courses, we do not just enumerate side-channel effects but we provide you with the experience of discovering side channels yourself in a group of students, living in a shared appartment. We dive deeper into the microarchitecture and get an in-depth understanding of virtual memory and caches in the course. We will learn about different cache side channels, such as Flush+Flush, Evict+Reload, and Prime+Probe. This requires some skills in reading and writing code, mainly C code. You will learn which attacks are relevant in the concrete native and virtualized environments you are working with, contributing to your risk assessment skills. In a set of small exercises, you will demonstrate that you understood the virtual memory, caches, and are able to find and exploit cache side channels in small software programs.


- Episode 1: Down the Rabbit Hole

The flatmates figure out how virtual addresses and caches work and they start realizing which timing differences might be hidden in there.

- Episode 2: Gone with the Flush

The flatmates discover the Flush+Flush and Evict+Reload attacks and learn a lot about how cache replacement works.

- Episode 3: Optimus Prime+Probe

The flatmates discover the Prime+Probe attack. They realize that it works in cases where Flush+Reload does not work and believe it is something completely new.

- Episode 4: Jonas and the Template of Doom

The flatmates realize that they can scan binaries for cache activity and automatically build cache side-channel attacks with that, forming the concept of Cache Template Attacks. In the end, upon Jonas' suggestion, they retrieve the Template of Doom; but they also attack AES for instance.

- Episode 5: Drama with Manuel

Manuel hurt his leg and cannot move. The timing differences he introduces in the flat activity inspire the discovery of DRAM Addressing (DRAMA) side channels.

Taught by

Daniel Gruss


Start your review of Cache Side-Channel Attacks and Mitigations

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.