Skip to content
A side-channel attack vector based on interrupt latency against enclave execution of Intel SGX
C Shell Python Makefile
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.

SGXlinger: A New Side-channel Attack Vector Based on Interrupt Latency against Enclave Execution

This repository contains the source code of SGXlinger -- the interrupt latency attack framework accompanying our ICCD 2018 paper.

Wenjian He, Wei Zhang, Sanjeev Das and Yang Liu. SGXlinger: A New Side-channel Attack Vector Based on Interrupt Latency against Enclave Execution. In Proceedings of the 36th IEEE International Conference on Computer Design (ICCD'18).



Software Guard Extension (SGX) is a new security feature in recent Intel commodity processors. It is designed to provide a user program with a strongly shielded environment against other components in the system, including the OS, firmware and hardware peripherals. With SGX, developers can deploy critical applications on untrusted remote platforms without the concern of information leakage. However, we discover a new attack vector SGXlinger to disclose coarse-grained information inside the protected program. Our attack monitors the interrupt latency of the SGX-protected program. In an experimental setting, we measure that the information leakage rate of the proposed side-channel can reach up to 35 Kbps.

Building and Running


To build and use the SGXlinger tool:

  1. OS: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

To test SGXlinger tool against SGX programs:

  1. An SGX-capable machine. Ensure SGX is enabled in BIOS.
  2. install the SGX driver, SGX SDK and SGX PSW.

1. Generate and Install the SGXlinger kernel

  1. To manipulate the LAPIC and have accurate measurements of interrupt delay, SGXlinger instruments the kernel. The SGXlinger kernel is based on the Ubuntu kernel version Ubuntu-hwe-4.8.0-52.55_16.04.1. All the modifications are described in the patch file sgxlinger_kernel.patch. To use our patch, please download the original Ubuntu kernel source code and then proceed to apply the patch, as shown below.

    $ git clone git://
    $ cd ubuntu-xenial
    $ git checkout -b SGXlingerKernel Ubuntu-hwe-4.8.0-52.55_16.04.1
    $ git apply ../sgxlinger_kernel.patch
  2. Compile the modified kernel:

    $ fakeroot debian/rules clean
    $ fakeroot debian/rules binary-headers binary-generic

    This step will produce at least these files in the parent folder:

    -rw-r--r-- [user]  11M linux-headers-4.8.0-52_4.8.0-52.55~16.04.1~SGXlinger_all.deb
    -rw-r--r-- [user] 997K linux-headers-4.8.0-52-generic_4.8.0-52.55~16.04.1~SGXlinger_amd64.deb
    -rw-r--r-- [user]  23M linux-image-4.8.0-52-generic_4.8.0-52.55~16.04.1~SGXlinger_amd64.deb
  3. Install the modified kernel and reboot to it.

    $ cd ..
    $ sudo dpkg -i linux-*.deb
    $ sudo reboot

    If your machine uses GRUB bootloader, you can hold the SHIFT key or the ESC key during booting to access the bootloader menu. Some users will have to configure grub through the /etc/default/grub file. The SGXlinger kernel name is Ubuntu, with Linux 4.8.0-52-generic in the GRUB menu.

  4. After rebooting, you can use command $ uname -a to check if you have booted to the correct kernel. If you use the patch in this repository, the command should display:

    $ uname -a
    Linux [PC Name] 4.8.0-52-generic #55~16.04.1~SGXlinger SMP [Time] x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

2. Build and Load the SGXlinger Loadable Kernel Module

The SGXlinger loadable kernel module bridges the code in the kernel and the malicious privileged attacker. To build and load the SGXlinger kernel module,

$ cd kernel_module
$ make
$ sudo insmod sgxlinger.ko core_id=3

Change core_id to the core you want to attack.

3. Use SGXlinger Loadable Kernel Module

The SGXlinger loadable kernel module exposes the runtime interface using the debugfs filesystem. You will be required to be a super user to view the debugfs directories. To navigate to the SGXlinger folder,

$ sudo -i
$ cd /sys/kernel/debug/sgxlinger/

In the folder, you will see the following files.

File Name Permission Description
enabled RW When set to 1, indicates the latency monitoring is enabled;
When set to 0, the monitoring is disabled.
deadline_delta RW Read/configure the SGXlinger interrupt interval.
When enabled=1, the LAPIC raises an interrupt every deadline_delta clock cycles. WARN: Setting this value too small may cause kernel panic.
data_pos RW Read: report how many measurements are stored in monitor_data;
Write: write 0 to reset the internal buffer.
monitor_data R This file stores the SGXlinger measurements in binary form.
See retrieve_sgxlinger_data/retrieve_data.c in this repository to learn how to read and parse the data.

Usage example

Try the the demo in the folder victim_demo. To run the demo,

$ cd victim_demo
$ ./
You can’t perform that action at this time.