MADFAM: MicroArchitectural Data Framework and Methodology

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In the aftermath of Spectre and Meltdown researchers have proposed a variety of attack detection solutions by applying machine learning to data collected from hardware performance monitoring units. Although many microarchitectural attack detection systems provide high-accuracy detection results, the behavior of the underlying data collection mechanisms is not well described or understood. This research introduces the MicroArchitectural Data Framework And Methodology (MADFAM) to prescribe a systematic approach to collecting and preserving the information available in sequences of microarchitectural data. The proposed framework focuses on hardware performance counters (HPCs) as the primary data source. HPC configuration is complex, which makes it difficult for others to reproduce results or advance the state-of-the-art. This framework includes a description of design decisions that HPC research must consider across an array of problem domains, including information security. MADFAM proposes a data collection architecture and evaluation criteria to improve the discussion about the experimental settings and design decisions used in HPC research. The proposed framework evaluation criteria are then used to establish a baseline characterization of time series data that future research can use to compare alternative framework implementations.


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[*] Author Langehaug was an AFIT PhD candidate at the time of publication.



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IEEE Access