Scalable and Configurable Tracking for Any Rowhammer Threshold

by   Anish Saxena, et al.

The Rowhammer vulnerability continues to get worse, with the Rowhammer Threshold (TRH) reducing from 139K activations to 4.8K activations over the last decade. Typical Rowhammer mitigations rely on tracking aggressor rows. The number of possible aggressors increases with lowering thresholds, making it difficult to reliably track such rows in a storage-efficient manner. At lower thresholds, academic trackers such as Graphene require prohibitive SRAM overheads (hundreds of KBs to MB). Recent in-DRAM trackers from industry, such as DSAC-TRR, perform approximate tracking, sacrificing guaranteed protection for reduced storage overheads, leaving DRAM vulnerable to Rowhammer attacks. Ideally, we seek a scalable tracker that tracks securely and precisely, and incurs negligible dedicated SRAM and performance overheads, while still being able to track arbitrarily low thresholds. To that end, we propose START - a Scalable Tracker for Any Rowhammer Threshold. Rather than relying on dedicated SRAM structures, START dynamically repurposes a small fraction the Last-Level Cache (LLC) to store tracking metadata. START is based on the observation that while the memory contains millions of rows, typical workloads touch only a small subset of rows within a refresh period of 64ms, so allocating tracking entries on demand significantly reduces storage. If the application does not access many rows in memory, START does not reserve any LLC capacity. Otherwise, START dynamically uses 1-way, 2-way, or 8-way of the cache set based on demand. START consumes, on average, 9.4 dedicating a counter in LLC for each row in memory. We also propose START-M, a memory-mapped START for large-memory systems. Our designs require only 4KB SRAM for newly added structures and perform within 1 TRH of less than 100.


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