doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0705

Towards Trustable Storage using SSDs with Proprietary FTL

Xiaotong Cuia, Minhui Zoub, Liang Shic and Kaijie Wud

Key Laboratory of Dependable Service Computing in Cyber Physical Society, Ministry of Education, College of Computer Science, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China.


In recent years we have seen an increasing deployment of flash-based storage, such as SSD, in mission-critical applications due to its fast read/write speed, small form factor, strong shock resistance, and etc. SSDs use a middle layer called flash translation layer (FTL) to maintain the compatibility with the traditional magnetic-based HDDs. Unlike the traditional HDD where the host OS has the knowledge on where and how to access data, SSD uses FTL to translate and implement all operations. Even worse, FTL, which is considered as one of most important intellectual properties of flash-based storage, is often proprietary. This brings up a serious security concern on design trustiness: what if the manufacturer either accidentally or intentionally implements those operations incorrectly or maliciously? In this paper we analyze the possible threats that are brought up by the design trust issues, and propose a simple yet effective countermeasure.

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