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SMVs: Enforcing Least Privilege Memory Views for Multithreaded Applications
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SMVs: Enforcing Least Privilege Memory Views for Multithreaded Applications


What do SMVs do?

SMVs provide strong threads compartmentalization through kernel-level page table management.

Source tree structure

  • kernelspace/: things run in kernel space
    • linux-4.4.5-smv/: core of the modified Linux kernel suppor for the SMV model.
    • netlink-module/: communication channel for user space programs
  • userspace/: things run in user space
    • api/: user space smv library
    • apps/: real-world applications use cases
      • firefox/firefox-45.0-smv/: security-enhanced firefox desktop web browser
      • httpd/httpd-2.4.18/: security-enhanced Apache httpd web server
      • cherokee/: security-enhanced Cherokee web server
    • benchmarks/:
      • parsec-3.0/: multithreaded C/C++ benchmarks for complex thread/memory interaction.
    • testcases/: simple test cases for the smv model; used in early development stage.
  • docs/: CCS'16 research paper describing the smv model design rationale.

Using SMVs

  • SMVs have been tested on x86 platform.
  • To use SMVs, you need to compile SMV kernel, SMV LKM, and SMV API.
    • To build SMV kernel (based on Linux kernel 4.4.5) and SMV LKM (loadable kernel module):
      • % cd $SMV/kernelspace/
      • % ./
    • To build SMV API (userspace API):
      • % cd $SMV/userspace/
      • % ./
  • Then, include the following header in your source code:
    • #include <smv_lib.h>
  • Finally, compile your program by linking the smv library:
    • g++ target.c -o target -lsmv_lib

Citing SMVs

If you use SMVs, please cite our reearch paper published at CCS'16, included as doc/smv-ccs16.pdf.

author = {Hsu, Terry Ching-Hsiang and Hoffman, Kevin and Eugster, Patrick and Payer, Mathias},
title = {{Enforcing Least Privilege Memory Views for Multithreaded Applications}},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security},
year = {2016},
series = {CCS '16},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
publisher = {ACM},
doi = {10.1145/2976749.2978327},
isbn = {978-1-4503-4139-4/16/10},
location = {Vienna, Austria},
url = {},


This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. TC-1117065, TWC- 1421910, CNS-1464155, and by European Research Council under grant FP7- 617805.

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