The Hacker News Logo
Subscribe to Newsletter

The Hacker News — Cyber Security and Hacking News Website: intel processor

SWAPGS Attack — New Speculative Execution Flaw Affects All Modern Intel CPUs

SWAPGS Attack — New Speculative Execution Flaw Affects All Modern Intel CPUs
August 06, 2019Mohit Kumar
A new variant of the Spectre (Variant 1)  side-channel vulnerability has been discovered that affects all  modern Intel CPUs , and probably some AMD processors as well, which leverage speculative execution for high performance, Microsoft and Red Hat warned. Identified as CVE-2019-1125, the vulnerability could allow unprivileged local attackers to access sensitive information stored in the operating system privileged kernel memory, including passwords, tokens, and encryption keys, that would otherwise be inaccessible. Speculative execution is a core component of modern microprocessor 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. Such speculative executions also have side effects that are not restored when the CPU state is unwound, leading to information disclosure, which can then be accessed using side-channel attacks . Microsof

New Class of CPU Flaws Affect Almost Every Intel Processor Since 2011

New Class of CPU Flaws Affect Almost Every Intel Processor Since 2011
May 14, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Academic researchers today disclosed details of the newest class of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities in Intel processors that impacts all modern chips, including the chips used in Apple devices. After the discovery of Spectre and Meltdown processor vulnerabilities earlier last year that put practically every computer in the world at risk, different classes of Spectre and Meltdown variations surfaced again and again. Now, a team of security researchers from multiple universities and security firms has discovered different but more dangerous speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities in Intel CPUs. The newly discovered flaws could allow attackers to directly steal user-level, as well as system-level secrets from CPU buffers, including user keys, passwords, and disk encryption keys. Speculative execution is a core component of modern processors design that speculatively executes instructions based on assumptions that are considered likely to be true.

Researchers Implant "Protected" Malware On Intel SGX Enclaves

Researchers Implant "Protected" Malware On Intel SGX Enclaves
February 13, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a way to hide malicious code in Intel SGX enclaves, a hardware-based memory encryption feature in modern processors that isolates sensitive code and data to protect it from disclosure or modification. In other words, the technique allows attackers to implant malware code in a secure memory that uses protection features of SGX which are otherwise designed to protect important data from prying eyes or from being tampered, even on a compromised system. Introduced with Intel's Skylake processors, SGX (Software Guard Extensions) allows developers to run selected application modules in a completely isolated secure region of memory, called enclaves, which are designed to be protected from processes running at higher privilege levels like the operating system, kernel, BIOS, SMM, hypervisor, etc. However, a team of researchers, some of whom were behind the discovery of the Spectre-Meltdown CPU flaws , managed to bypass this protection and g

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

New Intel CPU Flaw Exploits Hyper-Threading to Steal Encrypted Data

New Intel CPU Flaw Exploits Hyper-Threading to Steal Encrypted Data
November 04, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A team of security researchers has discovered another serious side-channel vulnerability in Intel CPUs that could allow an attacker to sniff out sensitive protected data, like passwords and cryptographic keys, from other processes running in the same CPU core with simultaneous multi-threading feature enabled. The vulnerability, codenamed PortSmash (CVE-2018-5407), has joined the list of other dangerous side-channel vulnerabilities discovered in the past year, including Meltdown and Spectre , TLBleed , and Foreshadow . Discovered by a team of security researchers from the Tampere University of Technology in Finland and Technical University of Havana, Cuba, the new side-channel vulnerability resides in Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, the company's implementation of Simultaneous MultiThreading (SMT). Simultaneous MultiThreading is a performance feature that works by splitting up each physical core of a processor into virtual cores, known as threads, allowing each core to

Foreshadow Attacks — 3 New Intel CPU Side-Channel Flaws Discovered

Foreshadow Attacks — 3 New Intel CPU Side-Channel Flaws Discovered
August 15, 2018Swati Khandelwal
2018 has been quite a tough year for Intel. While the chip-maker giant is still dealing with Meltdown and Spectre processor vulnerabilities, yet another major speculative execution flaw has been revealed in Intel's Core and Xeon lines of processors that may leave users vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Dubbed Foreshadow , alternatively called L1 Terminal Fault or L1TF, the new attacks include three new speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities affecting Intel processors. The Foreshadow attacks could allow a hacker or malicious application to gain access to the sensitive data stored in a computer's memory or third-party clouds, including files, encryption keys, pictures, or passwords. The three Foreshadow vulnerabilities have been categorized into two variants: 1.) Foreshadow Foreshadow ( PDF ) targets a new technology originally been designed to protect select code and users' data from disclosure or modification, even if the entire system falls under a

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

OpenBSD Disables Intel Hyper-Threading to Prevent Spectre-Class Attacks

OpenBSD Disables Intel Hyper-Threading to Prevent Spectre-Class Attacks
June 20, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Security-oriented BSD operating system OpenBSD has decided to disable support for Intel's hyper-threading performance-boosting feature, citing security concerns over Spectre-style timing attacks . Introduced in 2002, Hyper-threading is Intel's implementation of Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT) that allows the operating system to use a virtual core for each physical core present in processors in order to improve performance. The Hyper-threading feature comes enabled on computers by default for performance boosting, but in a detailed post published Tuesday, OpenBSD maintainer Mark Kettenis said such processor implementations could lead to Spectre-style timing attacks. "SMT (Simultaneous multithreading) implementations typically share TLBs and L1 caches between threads," Kettenis wrote. "This can make cache timing attacks a lot easier, and we strongly suspect that this will make several Spectre-class bugs exploitable." In cryptography, side-channe

New 'Lazy FP State Restore' Vulnerability Found in All Modern Intel CPUs

New 'Lazy FP State Restore' Vulnerability Found in All Modern Intel CPUs
June 14, 2018Mohit Kumar
Hell Yeah! Another security vulnerability has been discovered in Intel chips that affects the processor's speculative execution technology—like Specter and Meltdown —and could potentially be exploited to access sensitive information, including encryption related data. Dubbed Lazy FP State Restore , the vulnerability (CVE-2018-3665) within Intel Core and Xeon processors has just been confirmed by Intel, and vendors are now rushing to roll out security updates in order to fix the flaw and keep their customers protected. The company has not yet released technical details about the vulnerability, but since the vulnerability resides in the CPU, the flaw affects all devices running Intel Core-based microprocessors regardless of the installed operating systems, except some modern versions of Windows and Linux distributions. As the name suggests, the flaw leverages a system performance optimization feature, called Lazy FP state restore, embedded in modern processors, which is resp

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 Processors Now Allows Antivirus to Use Built-in GPUs for Malware Scanning

Intel Processors Now Allows Antivirus to Use Built-in GPUs for Malware Scanning
April 17, 2018Wang Wei
Global chip-maker Intel on Tuesday announced two new technologies—Threat Detection Technology (TDT) and Security Essentials—that not only offer hardware-based built-in security features across Intel processors but also improve threat detection without compromising system performance. Intel's Threat Detection Technology (TDT) offers a new set of features that leverage hardware-level telemetry to help security products detect new classes of threats and exploits. It includes two main capabilities—Accelerated Memory Scanning and Advanced Platform Telemetry. Accelerated Memory Scanning allows antivirus programs to use Intel's integrated GPU to scan and detect memory-based malware attacks while reducing the impact on performance and power consumption. "Current scanning technologies can detect system memory-based cyber-attacks, but at the cost of CPU performance," says Rick Echevarria, Intel security division Vice President. "With Accelerated Memory Scanni

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

Apple Plans to Replace Intel Chips in Macs with its Custom Designed CPUs

Apple Plans to Replace Intel Chips in Macs with its Custom Designed CPUs
April 03, 2018Mohit Kumar
In a major blow to Intel, Apple is reportedly planning to use its custom-designed ARM chips in Mac computers starting as early as 2020, ultimately replacing the Intel processors running on its desktop and laptop hardware. The company makes its own A-series custom chips for iPhones, iPads and other iThings, while the Mac devices use Intel x64 silicon. Now according to a report from Bloomberg, Apple plans to replace Intel's Mac chips with its own homegrown CPUs. The report says Apple executives have a project, codenamed " Kalamata ," that designs desktop-grade Arm-compatible processors, along with a macOS port, allowing the company to craft a uniform architecture across all of its product lines. The report also says this changeover would be part of a "multi-step transition" to make iOS devices and Macs "work more similarly and seamlessly together," helping Apple's plan (project codename ' Marzipan ') to bring iOS apps to Mac for sof

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

[Guide] How to Protect Your Devices Against Meltdown and Spectre Attacks

[Guide] How to Protect Your Devices Against Meltdown and Spectre Attacks
January 05, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Recently uncovered two huge processor vulnerabilities called Meltdown and Spectre have taken the whole world by storm, while vendors are rushing out to patch the vulnerabilities in its products. The issues apply to all modern processors and affect nearly all operating systems (Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS, FreeBSD, and more), smartphones and other computing devices made in the past 20 years. What are Spectre and Meltdown? We have explained both , Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) and Spectre (CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715), exploitation techniques in our previous article. In short, Spectre and Meltdown are the names of security vulnerabilities found in many processors from Intel, ARM and AMD that could allow attackers to steal your passwords, encryption keys and other private information. Both attacks abuse 'speculative execution' to access privileged memory—including those allocated for the kernel—from a low privileged user process like a malicious app running on a

Meltdown and Spectre CPU Flaws Affect Intel, ARM, AMD Processors

Meltdown and Spectre CPU Flaws Affect Intel, ARM, AMD Processors
January 04, 2018Mohit Kumar
Unlike the initial reports suggested about Intel chips being vulnerable to some severe ‘memory leaking’ flaws, full technical details about the vulnerabilities have now been emerged, which revealed that almost every modern processor since 1995 is vulnerable to the issues. Disclosed today by Google Project Zero , the vulnerabilities potentially impact all major CPUs, including those from AMD, ARM, and Intel—threatening almost all PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, regardless of manufacturer or operating system. These hardware vulnerabilities have been categorized into two attacks , named Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) and Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715), which could allow attackers to steal sensitive data which is currently processed on the computer. Both attacks take advantage of a feature in chips known as "speculative execution," a technique used by most modern CPUs to optimize performance. "In order to improve performance, many CPUs may choose t

Huge Flaws Affect Nearly Every Modern Device; Patch Could Hit CPU Performance

Huge Flaws Affect Nearly Every Modern Device; Patch Could Hit CPU Performance
January 03, 2018Swati Khandelwal
UPDATE: Researchers have finally disclosed complete technical details of two kernel side-channel attacks, Meltdown and Spectre — which affect not only Intel but also systems and devices running AMD, ARM processors —allowing attackers to steal sensitive data from the system memory. ____________ The first week of the new year has not yet been completed, and very soon a massive vulnerability is going to hit hundreds of millions of Windows, Linux, and Mac users worldwide. According to a blog post published yesterday, the core team of Linux kernel development has prepared a critical kernel update without releasing much information about the vulnerability. Multiple researchers on Twitter  confirmed that Intel processors (x86-64) have a severe hardware-level issue that could allow attackers to access protected kernel memory, which primarily includes information like passwords, login keys, and files cached from disk. The security patch implements kernel page-table isolation (KP

Critical Flaws in Intel Processors Leave Millions of PCs Vulnerable

Critical Flaws in Intel Processors Leave Millions of PCs Vulnerable
November 21, 2017Swati Khandelwal
In past few months, several research groups have uncovered vulnerabilities in the Intel remote administration feature known as the Management Engine (ME) which could allow remote attackers to gain full control of a targeted computer. Now, Intel has admitted that these security vulnerabilities could "potentially place impacted platforms at risk." The popular chipmaker released a security advisory on Monday admitting that its Management Engine (ME), remote server management tool Server Platform Services (SPS), and hardware authentication tool Trusted Execution Engine (TXE) are vulnerable to multiple severe security issues that place millions of devices at risk. The most severe vulnerability (CVE-2017-5705) involves multiple buffer overflow issues in the operating system kernel for Intel ME Firmware that could allow attackers with local access to the vulnerable system to " load and execute code outside the visibility of the user and operating system. " The
Exclusive Deals

Get Daily News Updates By Email

Join over 350,000 information security professionals — Get the best of our cyber security coverage delivered to your inbox every morning.