National Science Foundation Workshop on Side and Covert Channels in Computing Systems

March 22nd–23rd, 2018

George Washington University, Washington, DC

Sensitive Information leakage is a fast growing concern among computer users. Side- and covert channels have particularly gained attention due to their potential to reveal sensitive data to untrusted parties. Side channels are information leakage channels where an adversary can decipher victim's data through silently monitoring its activity from the outside. Covert channels, in contrast, work by having a malicious insider trojan that intentionally colludes with the adversary to exfiltrate secrets.

The workshop creates a unique forum to study the threat of side-channel and covert-channel leakage in computing, with the participation of different communities: computer architects, systems researchers, hardware designers, and cryptographers. The workshop participants identify potential challenges in existing computer design methodologies, and will discuss the strategies to minimize information leakage. A comprehensive workshop report will then summarize the findings and discussion on the current state-of-the-art and projection in terms of detecting, mitigating and defending against side- and covert channels.