June 17, 2021


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What is All the FaaS About? – Remote Exploitation of FPGA-as-a-Service Platforms, by Nitin Pundir and Fahim Rahman and Farimah Farahmandi and Mark Tehranipoor

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) used as hardware accelerators in the cloud domain allow end-users to accelerate their custom applications while ensuring minimal dynamic power consumption. Cloud infrastructures aim to maximize profit by achieving optimized resource sharing among its cloud users. However, the FPGAs’ reconfigurable nature poses unique security and privacy challenges in a shared cloud environment. In this paper, we aim to understand the interactions between FPGA and the host servers on the cloud to analyze FaaS platforms’ security. We propose a vulnerability taxonomy based on the runtime attributes of the FaaS platforms. The taxonomy aims to assist the identification of critical sources of vulnerabilities in the platform in allowing focused security verification. We demonstrate the proof-of-concept by characterizing the potential source of vulnerabilities in the Stratix-10 FaaS platforms. We then focused on only one major source to perform more focused verification. The proof-of-concept is demonstrated by identifying the potential source of vulnerabilities in the Stratix-10 FaaS platforms. Then, to conduct more focused verification, we narrowed our focus to only one major source. It aided in the identification of several low-level software vulnerabilities. The discovered vulnerabilities could be remotely exploited to cause denial-of-service and information leakage attacks. The concerned entities have released software updates to address the vulnerabilities.