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Winners Announced – Cybersecurity Award

Release Date: July 2022

The 2022 Winner in the track “Best Practical Paper”

Robert Buhren, Hans-Niklas Jacob, Thilo Krachenfels, and Jean-Pierre Seifert. 2021. One Glitch to Rule Them All: Fault Injection Attacks Against AMD's Secure Encrypted Virtualization. In Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS '21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 2875–2889.


AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) offers protection mechanisms for virtual machines in untrusted environments through memory and register encryption. To separate security-sensitive operations from software executing on the main x86 cores, SEV leverages the AMD Secure Processor (AMD-SP). This paper introduces a new approach to attacking SEV-protected virtual machines (VMs) by targeting the AMD-SP. We present a voltage glitching attack that allows an attacker to execute custom payloads on the AMD-SPs of all microarchitectures that support SEV currently on the market (Zen 1, Zen 2, and Zen 3). The presented methods allow us to deploy a custom SEV firmware on the AMD-SP, which enables an adversary to decrypt a VM's memory. Furthermore, using our approach, we can extract endorsement keys of SEV-enabled CPUs, which allows us to fake attestation reports or pose as a valid target for VM migration without requiring physical access to the target host. Moreover, we reverse-engineered the Versioned Chip Endorsement Key (VCEK) mechanism introduced with SEV Secure Nested Paging (SEV-SNP). The VCEK binds the endorsement keys to the firmware version of TCB components relevant for SEV. Building on the ability to extract the endorsement keys, we show how to derive valid VCEKs for arbitrary firmware versions. With our findings, we prove that SEV cannot adequately protect confidential data in cloud environments from insider attackers, such as rogue administrators, on currently available CPUs.

The 2022 Winner in the track “Best Machine Learning and Security Paper"

Xuezixiang Li, Yu Qu, and Heng Yin. 2021. PalmTree: Learning an Assembly Language Model for Instruction Embedding. In Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS '21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 3236–3251.


Deep learning has demonstrated its strengths in numerous binary analysis tasks, including function boundary detection, binary code search, function prototype inference, value set analysis, etc. When applying deep learning to binary analysis tasks, we need to decide what input should be fed into the neural network model. More specifically, we need to answer how to represent an instruction in a fixed-length vector. The idea of automatically learning instruction representations is intriguing, but the existing schemes fail to capture the unique characteristics of disassembly. These schemes ignore the complex intra-instruction structures and mainly rely on control flow in which the contextual information is noisy and can be influenced by compiler optimizations. In this paper, we propose to pre-train an assembly language model called PalmTree for generating general-purpose instruction embeddings by conducting self-supervised training on large-scale unlabeled binary corpora. PalmTree utilizes three pre-training tasks to capture various characteristics of assembly language. These training tasks overcome the problems in existing schemes and thus can help to generate high-quality representations. We conduct both intrinsic and extrinsic evaluations and compare PalmTree with other instruction embedding schemes. PalmTree has the best performance for intrinsic metrics and outperforms the other instruction embedding schemes for all downstream tasks.

Track “Best Theoretical Paper”

After the evaluation process of the Cybersecurity Award committee, we didn’t select a winner paper for this track.