Timing Attacks

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Timing attacks are against the implementation, rather than the actual algorithm or concept. They are based on the length of time it takes a computer to respond or process a given item of data, and they can be run either locally or remotely.

Initially, this was discovered to be a side-attack against OpenSSH versions prior to 0.9.6c. These versions were vulnerable to timing attacks and allowed a local or remote user to know if a given login name existed by how long it took the computer to respond. See details of this attack at http://www.ece.cmu.edu/~dawnsong/papers/ssh-timing.pdf.

Further studies have also shown this attack works against a variety of network services and could be deduced by monitoring the timestamps of TCP packets.

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