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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 03, 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

PCs with Intel Server Chipsets, Launched Since 2010, Can be Hacked Remotely

PCs with Intel Server Chipsets, Launched Since 2010, Can be Hacked Remotely
May 02, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Updated: Since the below-reported vulnerability is highly critical and it would take a few weeks for sysadmins to protect their enterprise network, the research team has not yet disclosed the technical details of the vulnerability. Meanwhile, I have talked with Maksim Malyutin, a member of Embedi research team who discovered the vulnerability in March, and updated my article based on the information provided by him. A critical vulnerability has been discovered in the remote management features on computers shipped with Intel processors for past seven years (and not decade), which could allow attackers to take control of the computers remotely, affecting all Intel systems, including PC, laptops, and servers, with AMT feature enabled. As reported earlier, this critical flaw (CVE-2017-5689) is not a remote code execution, rather Malyutin confirmed to The Hacker News that it's a logical vulnerability that also gives remote attackers an opportunity to exploit this bug using add

Microsoft Started Blocking Windows 7/8.1 Updates For PCs Running New Processors

Microsoft Started Blocking Windows 7/8.1 Updates For PCs Running New Processors
March 20, 2017Wang Wei
You might have heard the latest news about Microsoft blocking new security patches and updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users running the latest processors from Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and others. Don't panic, this new policy doesn't mean that all Windows 7 and 8.1 users will not be able to receive latest updates in general because Microsoft has promised to support Windows 7 until 2020 , and Windows 8.1 until 2023. But those who have upgraded their machines running older versions of Windows to the latest processors, or manually downgraded their new laptops to run Windows 7/8.1 would be out of luck. A recently published Microsoft Knowledge Base article suggests that if you are running the older version of operating systems on your computers that feature new processors, including Intel's 7th generation Core i3, i5 and i7 ("Kaby Lake"), AMD Ryzen ("Bristol Ridge") and Qualcomm 8996 chips or later, the security updates will not install. Inste

China develops the World's Most Powerful Supercomputer without US chips

China develops the World's Most Powerful Supercomputer without US chips
June 21, 2016Swati Khandelwal
China beats its own record with the World's fastest supercomputer. Sunway TaihuLight , a newly built supercomputer from China, now ranks as the world's most powerful machine. During the International Supercomputer Conference in Germany on Monday, Top500 declared China's 10.65 Million-core Sunway TaihuLight as the world's fastest supercomputer. Moreover, the supercomputer is leading by a wide margin, too. With 93 petaflops of processing power, Sunway TaihuLight is nearly three times more powerful than the world's previous fastest supercomputer, Tianhe-2 , which had been the world's fastest computer for last 3 years with speeds of 33.9 petaflops per second. That's 93 quadrillion floating point operations per second (FLOP), which means the supercomputer can perform around 93,000 trillion calculations per second, at its peak. The Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer is installed at the National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi. "Sunway TaihuLight, with

China Builds World's Fastest Supercomputer

China Builds World's Fastest Supercomputer
June 08, 2013Mohit Kumar
China has developed a new supercomputer known as Tianhe-2  which is twice as fast as US and Japanese systems has been measured at speeds of 30.65 petaflops or 74 percent faster than the current holder of the world's-fastest-supercomputer title. Titan, the U.S. Department of Energy's fastest supercomputer, has been clocked in at just 17.6 petaflops per second. Earlier reports said China is aiming for no lesser than a 100 Petaflops machine by 2015. China's National University of Defense Technology last week revealed about a massive machine in Changsha, that's expected to come out next weekend during the International Supercomputing Conference. Tianhe-2 is built with Intel Ivy Bridge and Xeon Phi processors. The powerful system was assembled by Chinese company Inspur using tens of thousands of the latest multicore chips produced by Intel, with an addition of some home-made technology. In total, the supercomputer is said to contain over 3 million processor cor
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