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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: side channel attack

New Attack Leverages HTTP/2 for Effective Remote Timing Side-Channel Leaks

New Attack Leverages HTTP/2 for Effective Remote Timing Side-Channel Leaks
July 31, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Security researchers have outlined a new technique that renders a remote timing-based side-channel attack more effective regardless of the network congestion between the adversary and the target server. Remote timing attacks that work over a network connection are predominantly affected by variations in network transmission time (or jitter), which, in turn, depends on the load of the network connection at any given point in time. But since measuring the time taken to execute cryptographic algorithms is crucial to carrying out a timing attack and consequently leak information, the jitter on the network path from the attacker to the server can make it impractical to successfully exploit timing side-channels that rely on a small difference in execution time. The new method, called Timeless Timing Attacks (TTAs) by researchers from DistriNet Research Group and New York University Abu Dhabi, instead leverages multiplexing of network protocols and concurrent execution by applicati

Intel CPUs Vulnerable to New 'SGAxe' and 'CrossTalk' Side-Channel Attacks

Intel CPUs Vulnerable to New 'SGAxe' and 'CrossTalk' Side-Channel Attacks
June 10, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered two distinct attacks that could be exploited against modern Intel processors to leak sensitive information from the CPU's trusted execution environments (TEE). Called SGAxe , the first of the flaws is an evolution of the previously uncovered CacheOut attack (CVE-2020-0549) earlier this year that allows an attacker to retrieve the contents from the CPU's L1 Cache. "By using the extended attack against the Intel-provided and signed architectural SGX enclaves, we retrieve the secret attestation key used for cryptographically proving the genuinity of enclaves over the network, allowing us to pass fake enclaves as genuine," a group of academics from the University of Michigan said. The second line of attack, dubbed CrossTalk by researchers from the VU University Amsterdam, enables attacker-controlled code executing on one CPU core to target SGX enclaves running on a completely different core, and determine the enclave'

9 Years of AMD Processors Vulnerable to 2 New Side-Channel Attacks

9 Years of AMD Processors Vulnerable to 2 New Side-Channel Attacks
March 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
AMD processors from as early as 2011 to 2019 carry previously undisclosed vulnerabilities that open them to two new different side-channel attacks, according to a freshly published research. Known as " Take A Way ," the new potential attack vectors leverage the L1 data (L1D) cache way predictor in AMD's Bulldozer microarchitecture to leak sensitive data from the processors and compromise the security by recovering the secret key used during encryption. The research was published by a group of academics from the Graz University of Technology and Research Institute of Computer Science and Random Systems (IRISA), who responsibly disclosed the vulnerabilities to AMD back in August 2019. "We are aware of a new white paper that claims potential security exploits in AMD CPUs, whereby a malicious actor could manipulate a cache-related feature to potentially transmit user data in an unintended way," AMD said in an advisory posted on its website over the weekend

NetCAT: New Attack Lets Hackers Remotely Steal Data From Intel CPUs

NetCAT: New Attack Lets Hackers Remotely Steal Data From Intel CPUs
September 11, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Unlike previous side-channel vulnerabilities disclosed in Intel CPUs, researchers have discovered a new flaw that can be exploited remotely over the network without requiring an attacker to have physical access or any malware installed on a targeted computer. Dubbed NetCAT , short for Network Cache ATtack, the new network-based side-channel vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to sniff out sensitive data, such as someone's SSH password, from Intel's CPU cache. Discovered by a team of security researchers from the Vrije University in Amsterdam, the vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2019-11184, resides in a performance optimization feature called Intel's DDIO—short for Data-Direct I/O—which by design grants network devices and other peripherals access to the CPU cache. The DDIO comes enabled by default on all Intel server-grade processors since 2012, including Intel Xeon E5, E7 and SP families. According to the researchers [ paper ], NetCAT attack works simila

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 Attack Lets Android Apps Capture Loudspeaker Data Without Any Permission

New Attack Lets Android Apps Capture Loudspeaker Data Without Any Permission
July 17, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Earlier this month, The Hacker News covered a story on research revealing how over 1300 Android apps are collecting sensitive data even when users have explicitly denied the required permissions. The research was primarily focused on how app developers abuse multiple ways around to collect location data, phone identifiers, and MAC addresses of their users by exploiting both covert and side channels. Now, a separate team of cybersecurity researchers has successfully demonstrated a new side-channel attack that could allow malicious apps to eavesdrop on the voice coming out of your smartphone's loudspeakers without requiring any device permission. Abusing Android Accelerometer to Capture Loudspeaker Data Dubbed Spearphone , the newly demonstrated attack takes advantage of a hardware-based motion sensor, called an accelerometer, which comes built into most Android devices and can be unrestrictedly accessed by any app installed on a device even with zero permissions. An

OpenSSH Now Encrypts Secret Keys in Memory Against Side-Channel Attacks

OpenSSH Now Encrypts Secret Keys in Memory Against Side-Channel Attacks
June 22, 2019Mohit Kumar
In recent years, several groups of cybersecurity researchers have disclosed dozens of memory side-channel vulnerabilities in modern processors and DRAM s, like Rowhammer , RAMBleed , Spectre, and Meltdown . Have you ever noticed they all had at least one thing in common? That's OpenSSH. As a proof-of-concept, many researchers demonstrated their side-channel attacks against OpenSSH application installed on a targeted computer, where an unprivileged attacker-owned process exploits memory read vulnerabilities to steal secret SSH private keys from the restricted memory regions of the system. That's possible because OpenSSH has an agent that keeps a copy of your SSH key in the memory so that you don't have to type your passphrase every time you want to connect to the same remote server. However, modern operating systems by default store sensitive data, including encryption keys and passwords, in the kernel memory which can not be accessed by user-level privileged p

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

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,

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

MIT Develops Hack-Proof RFID Chip — Here's How It Works

MIT Develops Hack-Proof RFID Chip — Here's How It Works
February 06, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Do you know about RFID chips and how many you are carrying at this moment? Today, RFID chips are built-in all sorts of items, including your credit cards, travel swipe cards, library books, grocery store cards, security tags, implanted medical records, passports and even the access cards provided by companies. But, What actually is an RFID chip? Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a small electronic device consisting of a chip on which data can be encoded, and an antenna used to transmit that data. It is typically used for short-distance communication of information. However, there is concern that these RFID chips could easily be hacked, and the information on these chips could easily be stolen by hackers. After all, they don't even require physical access to these chips in order to get data from it. The good news is: Researchers at MIT have developed a new way that prevents RFID chips from hacking. Although the information on RFID chip is pro

Acoustic Cryptanalysis: Extracting RSA Key From GnuPG by capturing Computer Sound

Acoustic Cryptanalysis: Extracting RSA Key From GnuPG by capturing Computer Sound
December 20, 2013Mohit Kumar
' RSA Key Extraction via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic Cryptanalysis ', is an interesting paper recently published by Three Israeli Security Researchers at Tel Aviv University . They claimed that, they have successfully broken one of the most secure encryption algorithms, 4096-bit RSA , just by capturing Computer's CPU Sound while it runs decryption routines. Daniel Genkin, Adi Shamir (who co-invented RSA), and Eran Tromer , uses a side channel attack and through a process called " acoustic cryptanalysis ", they successfully extracted 4096-bit RSA key From GnuPG. " We experimentally demonstrate that such attacks can be carried out, using either a plain mobile phone placed next to the computer, or a more sensitive microphone placed 4 meters away, " The paper specifies some possible implementations of this attack. Some email-client softwares i.e. Enigmail can automatically decrypt incoming e-mail (for notification purposes) using GnuPG. An attacker can e-mail suitably-
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