What Does Rowhammer Mean?

Rowhammer or row hammer is a type of cyber-attack that exploits a bug in dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) modules manufactured in 2010 and onwards. This vulnerability can even be exploited via JavaScript, allowing an attacker to escape a Web browser’s security sandbox and gain access to the system.


Techopedia Explains Rowhammer

The problem with rowhammer has to do with the design of the affected DRAM modules. DRAM cells are stored in rows and are arranged very close to each other to increase density. Security tests showed that repeatedly activating rows of memory, e.g., successively writing data to them, can cause the electrical charge of a cell to leak to adjacent cells, resulting in random bit flips, which can affect or alter the memory contents. This repeated activation of rows, which is akin to “hammering” a row, is how the term got its name.


Related Terms

Latest Cybersecurity Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…