Practical memory deduplication attacks in sandboxed javascript

Daniel Gruss*, David Bidner, Stefan Mangard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


Page deduplication is a mechanism to reduce the memory footprint of a system. Identical physical pages are identified across borders of virtual machines and programs and merged by the operating system or the hypervisor. However, this enables side-channel information leakage through cache or memory access time. Therefore, it is considered harmful in public clouds today, but it is still considered safe to use in a private environment, i.e., private clouds, personal computers, and smartphones. We present the first memory-disclosure attack in sandboxed Javascript which exploits page deduplication. Unlike previous attacks, our attack does not require the victim to execute an adversary’s program, but simply to open a website which contains the adversary’s Javascript code. We are not only able to determine which applications are running, but also specific user activities, for instance, whether the user has specific websites currently opened. The attack works on servers, personal computers and smartphones, and across the borders of virtual machines.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Security – ESORICS 2015 - 20th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag Wien
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783319241739
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Event20th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2015 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 21 Sept 201525 Sept 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference20th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2015


  • Javascriptbased attack
  • Memory deduplication
  • Side-channel attack
  • Website fingerprinting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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