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Researchers Uncover First Native Spectre v2 Exploit Against Linux Kernel

Researchers Uncover First Native Spectre v2 Exploit Against Linux Kernel
Apr 10, 2024 Hardware Security / Linux
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed what they say is the "first native Spectre v2 exploit" against the Linux kernel on Intel systems that could be exploited to read sensitive data from the memory. The exploit, called Native Branch History Injection (BHI), can be used to leak arbitrary kernel memory at 3.5 kB/sec by bypassing existing Spectre v2/BHI mitigations, researchers from Systems and Network Security Group (VUSec) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam  said  in a new study. The shortcoming is being tracked as  CVE-2024-2201 . BHI was  first disclosed  by VUSec in March 2022, describing it as a technique that can get around Spectre v2 protections in modern processors from Intel, AMD, and Arm. While the attack leveraged extended Berkeley Packet Filters (eBPFs), Intel's recommendations to address the problem, among other things, were to disable Linux's unprivileged eBPFs. "Privileged managed runtimes that can be configured to allow an unprivileged user t

New ZenHammer Attack Bypasses RowHammer Defenses on AMD CPUs

New ZenHammer Attack Bypasses RowHammer Defenses on AMD CPUs
Mar 28, 2024 Hardware Security / Vulnerability
Cybersecurity researchers from ETH Zurich have developed a new variant of the RowHammer DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) attack that, for the first time, successfully works against AMD Zen 2 and Zen 3 systems despite mitigations such as Target Row Refresh (TRR). "This result proves that AMD systems are equally vulnerable to Rowhammer as Intel systems, which greatly increases the attack surface, considering today's AMD market share of around 36% on x86 desktop CPUs," the researchers  said . The technique has been codenamed  ZenHammer , which can also trigger RowHammer bit flips on DDR5 devices for the first time. RowHammer , first publicly disclosed in 2014, is a  well-known attack  that exploits DRAM's memory cell architecture to alter data by repeatedly accessing a specific row (aka hammering) to cause the electrical charge of a cell to leak to adjacent cells. This can induce random bit flips in neighboring memory rows (from 0 to 1, or vice versa), which can

Most Sophisticated iPhone Hack Ever Exploited Apple's Hidden Hardware Feature

Most Sophisticated iPhone Hack Ever Exploited Apple's Hidden Hardware Feature
Dec 28, 2023 Spyware / Hardware Security
The  Operation Triangulation  spyware attacks targeting Apple iOS devices leveraged never-before-seen exploits that made it possible to even bypass pivotal hardware-based security protections erected by the company. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, which  discovered  the  campaign  at the beginning of 2023 after becoming one of the targets,  described  it as the "most sophisticated attack chain" it has ever observed to date. The campaign is believed to have been active since 2019. Operation Triangulation gets its name from the use of a fingerprinting technique called canvas fingerprinting to draw a yellow triangle on a pink background with Web Graphics Library ( WebGL ) in the device's memory. The exploitation activity involved the use of four zero-day flaws that were fashioned into a chain to obtain an unprecedented level of access and backdoor target devices running iOS versions up to iOS 16.2 with the ultimate goal of gathering sensitive information. The starti

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What's the Right EDR for You?

What's the Right EDR for You?
May 10, 2024Endpoint Security / Threat Detection
A guide to finding the right endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution for your business' unique needs. Cybersecurity has become an ongoing battle between hackers and small- and mid-sized businesses. Though perimeter security measures like antivirus and firewalls have traditionally served as the frontlines of defense, the battleground has shifted to endpoints. This is why endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions now serve as critical weapons in the fight, empowering you and your organization to detect known and unknown threats, respond to them quickly, and extend the cybersecurity fight across all phases of an attack.  With the growing need to defend your devices from today's cyber threats, however, choosing the right EDR solution can be a daunting task. There are so many options and features to choose from, and not all EDR solutions are made with everyday businesses and IT teams in mind. So how do you pick the best solution for your needs? Why EDR Is a Must Because of

Collide+Power, Downfall, and Inception: New Side-Channel Attacks Affecting Modern CPUs

Collide+Power, Downfall, and Inception: New Side-Channel Attacks Affecting Modern CPUs
Aug 09, 2023
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed details of a trio of side-channel attacks that could be exploited to leak sensitive data from modern CPUs. Called  Collide+Power  ( CVE-2023-20583 ),  Downfall  ( CVE-2022-40982 ), and  Inception  ( CVE-2023-20569 ), the novel methods follow the disclosure of another newly discovered security vulnerability affecting AMD's Zen 2 architecture-based processors known as  Zenbleed  (CVE-2023-20593). "Downfall attacks target a critical weakness found in billions of modern processors used in personal and cloud computers,"  Daniel Moghimi , senior research scientist at Google,  said . "This vulnerability [...] enables a user to access and steal data from other users who share the same computer." In a hypothetical attack scenario, a malicious app installed on a device could weaponize the method to steal sensitive information like passwords and encryption keys, effectively undermining Intel's Software Guard eXtensions ( SGX

Zenbleed: New Flaw in AMD Zen 2 Processors Puts Encryption Keys and Passwords at Risk

Zenbleed: New Flaw in AMD Zen 2 Processors Puts Encryption Keys and Passwords at Risk
Jul 25, 2023 Hardware Security / Encryption
A new security vulnerability has been discovered in AMD's Zen 2 architecture-based processors that could be exploited to extract sensitive data such as encryption keys and passwords. Discovered by Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy, the flaw – codenamed  Zenbleed  and tracked as  CVE-2023-20593  (CVSS score: 6.5) – allows data exfiltration at the rate of 30 kb per core, per second. The issue is part of a broader category of weaknesses called  speculative execution attacks , in which the optimization technique widely used in modern CPUs is abused to access cryptographic keys from CPU registers. "Under specific microarchitectural circumstances, a register in 'Zen 2' CPUs may not be written to 0 correctly," AMD  explained  in an advisory. "This may cause data from another process and/or thread to be stored in the YMM register , which may allow an attacker to potentially access sensitive information." Web infrastructure company Cloudflare note

China Bans U.S. Chip Giant Micron, Citing "Serious Cybersecurity Problems"

China Bans U.S. Chip Giant Micron, Citing "Serious Cybersecurity Problems"
May 23, 2023 National Security / Hardware
China has banned U.S. chip maker Micron from selling its products to Chinese companies working on key infrastructure projects, citing national security risks. The development comes nearly two months after the country's cybersecurity authority  initiated a probe  in late March 2023 to assess potential network security risks. "The purpose of this network security review of Micron's products is to prevent product network security problems from endangering the security of national critical information infrastructure, which is a necessary measure to maintain national security," the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC)  said . The CAC further said the investigation found "serious cybersecurity problems" in Micron's products, endangering the country's critical information infrastructure supply chain. As a result, operators involved in such critical information infrastructure projects should stop purchasing products from Micron, it added. The autho

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

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

Researchers Break Intel SGX With New 'SmashEx' CPU Attack Technique
Oct 20, 2021
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, 2020
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 Bj√∂rn 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
Apr 21, 2020
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
Nov 13, 2019
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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