ROLoad: Securing Sensitive Operations with Pointee Integrity

DAC 2021,

Wende Tan , Yuan Li , Chao Zhang , Xingman Chen , Songtao Yang , Ying Liu , Jianping Wu .


Sensitive operations (e.g. control-flow transfers) are attractive targets for attackers. To protect them from being hijacked, we propose a new solution ROLoad to guarantee the integrity of their operands, which are loaded from (potentially corrupted) memory. We extend the RISC-V instruction set, implement an FPGA-based prototype of ROLoad, and then demonstrate two specific defense applications. Results show that this solution only costs few extra hardware resources (<3.32%). However, it could enable many lightweight (e.g. with overheads less than 0.31%) defenses, and provide broader and stronger security guarantees than existing hardware solutions, e.g. ARM BTI and Intel CET.