Feeds

RSA crypto attack poses threat to DRM

Side-channel code break

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Security researchers have developed a new approach to breaking the RSA algorithm that creates new problems for the development of effective rights management software.

Cryptoanalysts already known the time taken to make different calculations using the same encryption key might, in theory at least, give attackers code-breaking clues in much the same way electro-magnetic leakage or power fluctuations can be used in so-called "side-channel" attacks on secure systems. The new so-called Branch Prediction Analysis (BPA) attack is a refinement on this approach that makes code breaking feasible on commodity PCs instead of expensive high-performance kit.

A carefully written spy-process, running alongside the RSA-process, is able to collect almost all the secret bits used in an RSA signing operation by monitoring the states of a CPU. The approach yields far quicker results than statistical analysis, cryptography researchers say.

"The successful extraction of almost all secret key bits by our SBPA attack against an openSSL RSA implementation proves that the often recommended blinding or so called randomization techniques to protect RSA against side-channel attacks are, in the context of SBPA attacks, totally useless," researchers Onur Aciicmez, Cetin Kaya Koc and Jean-Pierre Seifert report in their paper.

"Despite sophisticated hardware-assisted partitioning methods such as memory protection, sandboxing or even virtualisation, SBPA attacks empower an unprivileged process to successfully attack other processes running in parallel on the same processor.

The approach frustrates existing countermeasures according to crypto guru Bruce Schneier, who writes that the approach would be particularly potent if directed against Digital Rights Management (DRM) implementations. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.