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7 New Meltdown and Spectre-type CPU Flaws Affect Intel, AMD, ARM CPUs

7 New Meltdown and Spectre-type CPU Flaws Affect Intel, AMD, ARM CPUs

November 14, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Disclosed earlier this year, potentially dangerous Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities that affected a large family of modern processors proven that speculative execution attacks can be exploited in a trivial way to access highly sensitive information. Since then, several more variants of speculative execution attacks have been discovered, including Spectre-NG , SpectreRSB, Spectre 1.1, Spectre1.2, TLBleed , Lazy FP , NetSpectre and Foreshadow , patches for which were released by affected vendors time-to-time. Speculative execution is a core component of modern processors design that speculatively executes instructions based on assumptions that are considered likely to be true. If the assumptions come out to be valid, the execution continues, otherwise discarded. Now, the same team of cybersecurity researchers who discovered original Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities have uncovered 7 new transient execution attacks affecting 3 major processor vendors—Intel, AMD, ARM. W
NetSpectre — New Remote Spectre Attack Steals Data Over the Network

NetSpectre — New Remote Spectre Attack Steals Data Over the Network

July 27, 2018Mohit Kumar
A team of security researchers has discovered a new Spectre attack that can be launched over the network, unlike all other Spectre variants that require some form of local code execution on the target system. Dubbed " NetSpectre ," the new remote side-channel attack, which is related to Spectre variant 1, abuses speculative execution to perform bounds-check bypass and can be used to defeat address-space layout randomization on the remote system. If you're unaware, the original Spectre Variant 1 flaw (CVE-2017-5753), which was reported earlier this year along with another Spectre and Meltdown flaws , leverages speculative stores to create speculative buffer overflows in the CPU store cache. Speculative execution is a core component of modern processors design that speculatively executes instructions based on assumptions that are considered likely to be true. If the assumptions come out to be valid, the execution continues and is discarded if not. This issue could
Google Enables 'Site Isolation' Feature By Default For Chrome Desktop Users

Google Enables 'Site Isolation' Feature By Default For Chrome Desktop Users

July 12, 2018Mohit Kumar
Google has by default enabled a security feature called "Site Isolation" in its web browser with the release of Chrome 67 for all desktop users to help them protect against many online threats, including Spectre and Meltdown attack . Site Isolation is a feature of the Google Chrome web browser that adds an additional security boundary between websites by ensuring that different sites are always put into separate processes, isolated from each other. Since each site in the browser gets its own sandboxed process, the feature makes it harder for untrusted websites to access or steal information of your accounts on other websites. In January this year when Google Project Zero researchers disclosed details of Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities, the tech giant recommended Chrome desktop users to manually turn on Site Isolation feature on their devices to mitigate speculative side-channel attacks. "Even if a Spectre attack were to occur in a malicious web page,
Two New Spectre-Class CPU Flaws Discovered—Intel Pays $100K Bounty

Two New Spectre-Class CPU Flaws Discovered—Intel Pays $100K Bounty

July 11, 2018Mohit Kumar
Intel has paid out a $100,000 bug bounty for new processor vulnerabilities that are related to Spectre variant one ( CVE-2017-5753 ). The new Spectre-class variants are tracked as Spectre 1.1 (CVE-2018-3693) and Spectre 1.2, of which Spectre 1.1 described as a bounds-check bypass store attack has been considered as more dangerous. Earlier this year, Google Project Zero researchers disclosed details of Variants 1 and 2 (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715), known as Spectre, and Variant 3 (CVE-2017-5754), known as Meltdown. Spectre flaws take advantage of speculative execution, an optimization technique used by modern CPUs, to potentially expose sensitive data through a side channel by observing the system. Speculative execution is a core component of modern processors design that speculatively executes instructions based on assumptions that are considered likely to be true. If the assumptions come out to be valid, the execution continues, otherwise discarded. New Spectre-Cla
New Spectre (Variant 4) CPU Flaw Discovered—Intel, ARM, AMD Affected

New Spectre (Variant 4) CPU Flaw Discovered—Intel, ARM, AMD Affected

May 22, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers from Microsoft and Google have discovered a fourth variant of the data-leaking Meltdown-Spectre security flaws impacting modern CPUs in millions of computers, including those marketed by Apple. Variant 4 comes weeks after German computer magazine Heise reported about a set of eight Spectre-class vulnerabilities in Intel CPUs and a small number of ARM processors, which may also impact AMD processor architecture as well. Variants 1 and 2 (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715), known as Spectre, and Variant 3 (CVE-2017-5754), known as Meltdown, are three processor vulnerabilities disclosed by Google Project Zero researchers in January this year. Now, Microsoft and Google researchers have disclosed Variant 4 (CVE-2018-3639), dubbed Speculative Store Bypass , which is a similar Spectre variant that takes advantage of speculative execution that modern CPUs use to potentially expose sensitive data through a side channel. Speculative execution is a core component
8 New Spectre-Class Vulnerabilities (Spectre-NG) Found in Intel CPUs

8 New Spectre-Class Vulnerabilities (Spectre-NG) Found in Intel CPUs

May 05, 2018Mohit Kumar
A team of security researchers has reportedly discovered a total of eight new " Spectre-class " vulnerabilities in Intel CPUs, which also affect at least a small number of ARM processors and may impact AMD processor architecture as well. Dubbed Spectre-Next Generation , or Spectre-NG , the partial details of the vulnerabilities were first leaked to journalists at German computer magazine Heise, which claims that Intel has classified four of the new vulnerabilities as "high risk" and remaining four as "medium." The new CPU flaws reportedly originate from the same design issue that caused the original Spectre flaw , but the report claims one of the newly discovered flaws allows attackers with access to a virtual machine (VM) to easily target the host system, making it potentially more threatening than the original Spectre vulnerability. "Alternatively, it could attack the VMs of other customers running on the same server. Passwords and secret k
Intel Admits It Won't Be Possible to Fix Spectre (V2) Flaw in Some Processors

Intel Admits It Won't Be Possible to Fix Spectre (V2) Flaw in Some Processors

April 04, 2018Mohit Kumar
As speculated by the researcher who disclosed Meltdown and Spectre flaws in Intel processors, some of the Intel processors will not receive patches for the Spectre (variant 2) side-channel analysis attack In a recent microcode revision guidance ( PDF ), Intel admits that it would not be possible to address the Spectre design flaw in its specific old CPUs, because it requires changes to the processor architecture to mitigate the issue fully. The chip-maker has marked "Stopped" to the production status for a total 9 product families—Bloomfield, Clarksfield, Gulftown, Harpertown Xeon, Jasper Forest, Penryn, SoFIA 3GR, Wolfdale, and Yorkfield. These vulnerable chip families—which are mostly old that went on sale between 2007 and 2011—will no longer receive microcode updates, leaving more than 230 Intel processor models vulnerable to hackers that powers millions of computers and mobile devices. According to the revised guidance, "after a comprehensive investigatio
Intel Releases New Spectre Patch Update for Skylake Processors

Intel Releases New Spectre Patch Update for Skylake Processors

February 08, 2018Mohit Kumar
After leaving million of devices at risk of hacking and then rolling out broken patches, Intel has now released a new batch of security patches only for its Skylake processors to address one of the Spectre vulnerabilities (Variant 2). For those unaware, Spectre ( Variant 1, Variant 2 ) and Meltdown ( Variant 3 ) are security flaws disclosed by researchers earlier last month in processors from Intel, ARM, and AMD, leaving nearly every PC, server, and mobile phone on the planet vulnerable to data theft. Shortly after the researchers disclosed the Spectre and Meltdown exploits , Intel started releasing microcode patches for its systems running Broadwell, Haswell, Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake processors. However, later the chip maker rollbacked the firmware updates and had to tell users to stop using an earlier update due to users complaining of frequent reboots and other unpredictable system behavior after installing patches. Although it should be a bit quicker, Intel i
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