Feeds

Intel chip flaw gets double exposure

Security researchers converge on cache vuln.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Security researchers are due to publish research on how an Intel chip flaw might be used for potentially malign purposes on Thursday.

Both Joanna Rutkowska, of Blue Pill renown, and Loic Duflot have separately announced plans to release a research paper and proof of concept exploit code on how an Intel CPU caching vulnerability might be misused. The flaw creates a potential means to attack the SMM (System Management Mode) of systems. Duflot will present his work at CanSEcWest in Vancover while Rutkowska is due to publish a paper on the same subject, also on Thursday.

"The attack allows for privilege escalation from Ring 0 to the SMM on many recent motherboards with Intel CPUs," Rutkowska, chief exec of of Invisible Things Lab explains.

The Intel caching hack is all the more serious because it burrows into SMM space, which is more privileged than a hypervisor area. As such it is a possible mechanism for creating "incredibly stealthy" rootkits, security blogger James Heary adds.

Invisible Things Lab's paper touches on the long-running debate about security disclosure. According to Rutkowska, Intel's own employees first wrote about how this class of CPU caching vulnerability might be exploited back in early 2005.

Duflot came across the problem and was the first to write a proof-of-concept exploit in October 2008. Rutkowska independently discovered the same issue a couple of months later.

"If there is a bug somewhere and if it stays unpatched for enough time, it is almost guaranteed that various people will (re)discover and exploit it, sooner or later," Rutkowska writes. "So, don't blame researchers that they find and publish information about bugs — they actually do a favor to our society." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.