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MIT Researchers Discover New Flaw in Apple M1 CPUs That Can't Be Patched

MIT Researchers Discover New Flaw in Apple M1 CPUs That Can't Be Patched

Jun 11, 2022
A novel hardware attack dubbed  PACMAN  has been demonstrated against Apple's M1 processor chipsets, potentially arming a malicious actor with the capability to gain arbitrary code execution on macOS systems. It leverages "speculative execution attacks to bypass an important memory protection mechanism, ARM Pointer Authentication, a security feature that is used to enforce pointer integrity," MIT researchers Joseph Ravichandran, Weon Taek Na, Jay Lang, and Mengjia Yan  said  in a new paper. What's more concerning is that "while the hardware mechanisms used by PACMAN cannot be patched with software features, memory corruption bugs can be," the researchers added. The vulnerability is rooted in pointer authentication codes ( PACs ), a line of defense introduced in arm64e architecture that aims to detect and secure against unexpected changes to  pointers  — objects that reference an address location in memory. PACs aim to solve a common problem in software
New 'Silver Sparrow' Malware Infected Nearly 30,000 Apple Macs

New 'Silver Sparrow' Malware Infected Nearly 30,000 Apple Macs

Feb 22, 2021
Days after the  first malware  targeting Apple M1 chips was discovered in the wild, researchers have disclosed yet another previously undetected piece of malicious software that was found in about 30,000 Macs running Intel x86_64 and the iPhone maker's M1 processors. However, the ultimate goal of the operation remains something of a conundrum, what with the lack of a next-stage or final payload leaving researchers unsure of its distribution timeline and whether the threat is just under active development. Calling the malware "Silver Sparrow," cybersecurity firm Red Canary said it identified two different versions of the malware — one compiled only for Intel x86_64 and uploaded to VirusTotal on August 31, 2020 ( version 1 ), and a second variant submitted to the database on January 22 that's compatible with both Intel x86_64 and M1 ARM64 architectures ( version 2 ). Adding to the mystery, the x86_64 binary, upon execution, simply displays the message "Hello,
Timing is Everything: The Role of Just-in-Time Privileged Access in Security Evolution

Timing is Everything: The Role of Just-in-Time Privileged Access in Security Evolution

Apr 15, 2024Active Directory / Attack Surface
To minimize the risk of privilege misuse, a trend in the privileged access management (PAM) solution market involves implementing just-in-time (JIT) privileged access. This approach to  privileged identity management  aims to mitigate the risks associated with prolonged high-level access by granting privileges temporarily and only when necessary, rather than providing users with continuous high-level privileges. By adopting this strategy, organizations can enhance security, minimize the window of opportunity for potential attackers and ensure that users access privileged resources only when necessary.  What is JIT and why is it important?   JIT privileged access provisioning  involves granting privileged access to users on a temporary basis, aligning with the concept of least privilege. This principle provides users with only the minimum level of access required to perform their tasks, and only for the amount of time required to do so. One of the key advantages of JIT provisioning
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