We consider the problem of designing multi-tenant public infrastructure clouds resistant to cross-VM attacks without relying on single-tenancy or on assumptions about the cloud’s servers. In a cross-VM attack (which have been demonstrated recently in Amazon EC2) an adversary launches malicious virtual machines (VM) that perform side-channel attacks against co-located VMs in order to recover their contents.
We propose a formal model in which to design and analyze secure VM placement algorithms, which are online vector bin packing algorithms that simultaneously satisfy certain optimization constraints and notions of security. We introduce and formalize several notions of security, establishing formal connections between them. We also introduce a new notion of efficiency for online bin packing algorithms that better captures their cost in the setting of cloud computing.