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Timing Covert Channel Analysis of the VxWorks MILS Embedded Hypervisor under the Common Criteria Security Certification

by   Domenico Cotroneo, et al.

Virtualization technology is nowadays adopted in security-critical embedded systems to achieve higher performance and more design flexibility. However, it also comes with new security threats, where attackers leverage timing covert channels to exfiltrate sensitive information from a partition using a trojan. This paper presents a novel approach for the experimental assessment of timing covert channels in embedded hypervisors, with a case study on security assessment of a commercial hypervisor product (Wind River VxWorks MILS), in cooperation with a licensed laboratory for the Common Criteria security certification. Our experimental analysis shows that it is indeed possible to establish a timing covert channel, and that the approach is useful for system designers for assessing that their configuration is robust against this kind of information leakage.


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