A Novel Approach To Mitigating RowHammer Attacks And Improving Server Memory System Reliability


A technical paper titled “RAMPART: RowHammer Mitigation and Repair for Server Memory Systems” was published by researchers at Rambus.


“RowHammer attacks are a growing security and reliability concern for DRAMs and computer systems as they can induce many bit errors that overwhelm error detection and correction capabilities. System-level solutions are needed as process technology and circuit improvements alone are unlikely to provide complete protection against RowHammer attacks in the future. This paper introduces RAMPART, a novel approach to mitigating RowHammer attacks and improving server memory system reliability by remapping addresses in each DRAM in a way that confines RowHammer bit flips to a single device for any victim row address. When RAMPART is paired with Single Device Data Correction (SDDC) and patrol scrub, error detection and correction methods in use today, the system can detect and correct bit flips from a successful attack, allowing the memory system to heal itself. RAMPART is compatible with DDR5 RowHammer mitigation features, as well as a wide variety of algorithmic and probabilistic tracking methods. We also introduce BRC-VL, a variation of DDR5 Bounded Refresh Configuration (BRC) that improves system performance by reducing mitigation overhead and show that it works well with probabilistic sampling methods to combat traditional and victim-focused mitigation attacks like Half-Double. The combination of RAMPART, SDDC, and scrubbing enables stronger RowHammer resistance by correcting bit flips from one successful attack. Uncorrectable errors are much less likely, requiring two successful attacks before the memory system is scrubbed.”

Find the technical paper here. Published October 2023 (preprint).

Woo, Steven C., Wendy Elsasser, Mike Hamburg, Eric Linstadt, Michael R. Miller, Taeksang Song, and James Tringali. “RAMPART: RowHammer Mitigation and Repair for Server Memory Systems.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2310.16354 (2023).

Related Reading
Power/Performance Costs Of Securing Systems
Security requires significant overhead, but it is no longer an option to ignore it. Cybercriminals will continue to exploit weak components.
IC Security Issues Grow, Solutions Lag
Signing off on hardware security may involve lifetime updates; AI adds unknowns that are difficult to trace.

Leave a Reply

(Note: This name will be displayed publicly)