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Memory cache

(also CPU cache)

Memory cache definition

A memory cache is a data storage layer that temporarily stores frequently accessed data and instructions to speed up the performance of a computer system. It serves as a speed optimizer between the processor and the RAM, reducing memory access latency. When the processor needs to access data, it checks the memory cache, and if the data is there, it quickly grants access to it. Although a memory cache is not a security risk by itself, hackers might misuse it to leak users’ data or for malicious activities. More precisely, a memory cache gathers sensitive data, such as passwords and encryption keys, which attackers can exploit to gain unauthorized access to the data. Because of this, protecting the memory cache from hacker attacks is a necessity.

See also: anti-malware, host virtual machine

Preventing memory cache hacking

  • Utilize secure programming practices. Users can conduct safe programming practices like boundary checks, input validation, and stack protection that will prevent memory-related weaknesses that hackers can exploit.
  • Use hardware-enforced security features. Most modern processors offer hardware-enforced solutions like ARM’s TrustZone and Intel’s SGX, which restrict unauthorized access.
  • Employ memory-safe programming languages. This technique involves using a safe programming language that conducts strict rules for memory access. As a result, it prevents buffer overflows and other memory-related attacks.
  • Use secure boot and firmware. These ensure that only trustworthy software loads during the boot process, which decreases memory cache hacking attacks.
  • Data encryption. Users can encrypt the data that the memory cache stores by utilizing an encryption algorithm, such as AES, that prevents unauthorized access.