Draco: Architectural and operating system support for system call security

Dimitrios Skarlatos, Qingrong Chen, Jianyan Chen, Tianyin Xu, Josep Torrellas

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

Abstract

System call checking is extensively used to protect the operating system kernel from user attacks. However, existing solutions such as Seccomp execute lengthy rule-based checking programs against system calls and their arguments, leading to substantial execution overhead. To minimize checking overhead, this paper proposes Draco, a new architecture that caches system call IDs and argument values after they have been checked and validated. System calls are first looked-up in a special cache and, on a hit, skip all checks. We present both a software and a hardware implementation of Draco. The latter introduces a System Call Lookaside Buffer (SLB) to keep recently-validated system calls, and a System Call Target Buffer to preload the SLB in advance. In our evaluation, we find that the average execution time of macro and micro benchmarks with conventional Seccomp checking is 1.14× and 1.25× higher, respectively, than on an insecure baseline that performs no security checks. With our software Draco, the average execution time reduces to 1.10× and 1.18× higher, respectively, than on the insecure baseline. With our hardware Draco, the execution time is within 1% of the insecure baseline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 53rd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2020
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages42-57
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781728173832
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Event53rd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2020 - Virtual, Athens, Greece
Duration: Oct 17 2020Oct 21 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO
Volume2020-October
ISSN (Print)1072-4451

Conference

Conference53rd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2020
CountryGreece
CityVirtual, Athens
Period10/17/2010/21/20

Keywords

  • Containers
  • Microarchitecture
  • Operating system
  • Security
  • System call checking
  • Virtualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture

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