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The Hacker News - Most Trusted Cyber Security and Computer Security Analysis: hardware security

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
June 11, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
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

Researchers Break Intel SGX With New 'SmashEx' CPU Attack Technique

Researchers Break Intel SGX With New 'SmashEx' CPU Attack Technique
October 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly disclosed vulnerability affecting Intel processors could be abused by an adversary to gain access to sensitive information stored within enclaves and even run arbitrary code on vulnerable systems. The vulnerability ( CVE-2021-0186 , CVSS score: 8.2) was discovered by a group of academics from ETH Zurich, the National University of Singapore, and the Chinese National University of Defense Technology in early May 2021, who used it to stage a confidential data disclosure attack called " SmashEx " that can corrupt private data housed in the enclave and break its integrity. Introduced with Intel's Skylake processors, SGX (short for Software Guard eXtensions) allows developers to run selected application modules in a completely isolated secure compartment of memory, called an enclave or a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), which is designed to be protected from processes running at higher privilege levels like the operating system. SGX ensures that data is secure

7 New Flaws Affect All Thunderbolt-equipped Computers Sold in the Last 9 Years

7 New Flaws Affect All Thunderbolt-equipped Computers Sold in the Last 9 Years
May 11, 2020Mohit Kumar
A cybersecurity researcher today uncovers a set of 7 new unpatchable hardware vulnerabilities that affect all desktops and laptops sold in the past 9 years with Thunderbolt, or Thunderbolt-compatible USB-C ports. Collectively dubbed 'ThunderSpy,' the vulnerabilities can be exploited in 9 realistic evil-maid attack scenarios, primarily to steal data or read/write all of the system memory of a locked or sleeping computer—even when drives are protected with full disk encryption. In a nutshell, if you think someone with a few minutes of physical access to your computer—regardless of the location—can cause any form of significant harm to you, you're at risk for an evil maid attack. According to Björn Ruytenberg of the Eindhoven University of Technology, the ThunderSpy attack "may require opening a target laptop's case with a screwdriver, [but] it leaves no trace of intrusion and can be pulled off in just a few minutes." In other words, the flaw is not li

Unpatchable 'Starbleed' Bug in FPGA Chips Exposes Critical Devices to Hackers

Unpatchable 'Starbleed' Bug in FPGA Chips Exposes Critical Devices to Hackers
April 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly discovered unpatchable hardware vulnerability in Xilinx programmable logic products could allow an attacker to break bitstream encryption, and clone intellectual property, change the functionality, and even implant hardware Trojans. The details of the attacks against Xilinx 7-Series and Virtex-6 Field Programmable Gate Arrays ( FPGAs ) have been covered in a paper titled " The Unpatchable Silicon: A Full Break of the Bitstream Encryption of Xilinx 7-Series FPGAs " by a group of academics from the Horst Goertz Institute for IT Security and Max Planck Institute for Cyber Security and Privacy. "We exploit a design flaw which piecewise leaks the decrypted bitstream," the researchers said. "In the attack, the FPGA is used as a decryption oracle, while only access to a configuration interface is needed. The attack does not require any sophisticated tools and, depending on the target system, can potentially be launched remotely." The findings wil

Researchers Discover TPM-Fail Vulnerabilities Affecting Billions of Devices

Researchers Discover TPM-Fail Vulnerabilities Affecting Billions of Devices
November 13, 2019Mohit Kumar
A team of cybersecurity researchers today disclosed details of two new potentially serious CPU vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to retrieve cryptographic keys protected inside TPM chips manufactured by STMicroelectronics or firmware-based Intel TPMs. Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a specialized hardware or firmware-based security solution that has been designed to store and protect sensitive information from attackers even when your operating system gets compromised. TMP technology is being used widely by billion of desktops, laptops, servers, smartphones, and even by Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices to protect encryption keys, passwords, and digital certificates. Collectively dubbed as TPM-Fail , both newly found vulnerabilities, as listed below, leverage a timing-based side-channel attack to recover cryptographic keys that are otherwise supposed to remain safely inside the chips. CVE-2019-11090 : Intel fTPM vulnerabilities CVE-2019-16863 : STMicroelectronics
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