CRII: SaTC: Rowhammer Attack on Fresh and Recycled Memory Chips: Security Risks and Defenses Grant

CRII: SaTC: Rowhammer Attack on Fresh and Recycled Memory Chips: Security Risks and Defenses .


  • Rowhammer is a software-assisted cyber attack that causes malicious changes to the target memory cells of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) due to charge leakage, by crafting memory access patterns which rapidly access the same row multiple times. This research focuses on proper hardware characterization towards a Rowhammer-resistant memory system. This characterization will also inform whether Rowhammer susceptibility increases with aging, and if so, will enable a method for detecting recycled chips.

    The research will (i) identify the Rowhammer-prone memory cells through hardware characterization, (ii) develop a low-cost system-level technique to build a Rowhammer-resistant memory system, (iii) experimentally study the vulnerability of counterfeit (especially recycled) DRAM chips to Rowhammer, and (iv) develop a framework that identifies recycled DRAM chips, if a relationship between Rowhammer effectiveness and aging is found.

    The research findings and tools will be of high interest to the individual consumers, federal agencies, data centers, healthcare, enterprise, and automobile systems, that are the targets of Rowhammer attacker. The cross-cutting nature of this research will broaden the advancement of knowledge in the field of computer systems, security, and reliability and will enable collaboration between various communities (systems/device/reliability/hardware-security/algorithms). The graduate and undergraduate students working on this project will receive training and grow expertise in the related fields. The research findings will also be used in existing and new graduate/undergraduate courses on hardware-security for training and education.

    All publicly released data, source codes, and peer-reviewed research articles will be made available during the period of performance and afterward, and will be posted at and

    This award is jointly funded by the Division of Computer and Network Systems in the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research in the Office of Integrative Activities.

    This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • October 1, 2021 - February 28, 2023

sponsor award ID

  • 2214108