Hardware-based cyber threats: attack vectors and defence techniques

Reza Montasari, Richard Hill, Simon Parkinson, Alireza Daneshkhah, Amin Hosseinian-Far

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


There are certain vulnerabilities associated with computing hardware that attackers can exploit to launch destructive attacks which often go undetected by the existing hardware and software countermeasures. Side channel attacks (SCAs) and Rowhammer attacks (RHAs), the consequences of hardware vulnerabilities, pose significant security and privacy threats to self-contained computing components and their end-users respectively. Such attacks compromise the security of computational environments, even those with advanced protection mechanisms such as virtualisation, sandboxes or robust encryptions. In light of these security threats against modern computing hardware, we perform an analysis overview of the modi operandi of SCAs and RHAs in hardware implementation and techniques that can be used to extract sensitive data such as secret keys. We then propose various countermeasures to safeguard against these attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-411
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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