Malicious co-residency on the cloud: Attacks and defense

Ahmed Osama Fathy Atya, Zhiyun Qian, Srikanth V. Krishnamurthy, Thomas La Porta, Patrick McDaniel, Lisa Marvel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

48 Scopus citations


Attacker VMs try to co-reside with victim VMs on the same physical infrastructure as a precursor to launching attacks that target information leakage. VM migration is an effective countermeasure against attempts at malicious co-residency. In this paper, we first undertake an experimental study on Amazon EC2 to obtain an in-depth understanding of the side-channels an attacker can use to ascertain co-residency with a victim. Here, we identify a new set of stealthy side-channel attacks which, we show to be more effective than currently available attacks towards verifying co-residency. Based on the study, we develop a set of guidelines to determine under what conditions victim VM migrations should be triggered given performance costs in terms of bandwidth and downtime, that a user is willing to bear. Via extensive experiments on our private in-house cloud, we show that migrations using our guidelines can limit the fraction of the time that an attacker VM co-resides with a victim VM to about 1 % of the time with bandwidth costs of a few MB and downtimes of a few seconds, per day per VM migrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationINFOCOM 2017 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509053360
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017
Event2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2017 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: May 1 2017May 4 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Other2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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