Feeds

Intel patches critical security bug in vPro software

Silicon-based bypass

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Intel has released a patch for its series of silicon-based security protections after researchers from Poland identified flaws that allowed them to completely bypass the extensions.

The implementation errors in Intel's TXT, or trusted execution technology, mean the feature can't be counted on as advertised to protect sensitive files and prevent systems from booting operating systems that have been tampered with. The vulnerability affects the Q35, GM45, PM45 Express, Q45, and Q43 Express chipsets.

"We again showed that an attacker can compromise the integrity of a software loaded via an Intel TXT-based loader in a generic way, fully circumventing any protection TXT is supposed to provide," researchers with the Invisible Things Lab stated in a press release (PDF) issued Monday.

The researchers laid out a variety of ways their software-only attack could defeat the security measures, which Intel has built into its vPro-branded processors and held out as a way for large corporate customers to make their servers and PCs more resistant to criminal hackers. One TXT feature that can be overridden is a setting that restricts the use of USB-based flash drives. The researchers also said that attacks could allow them to defeat procedures for securely launching applications and encrypting hard disk contents.

The attacks exploit implementation errors in Intel's SINIT Authenticated Code modules, which are digitally signed pieces of code that can't be modified. The researchers brought the defects to the attention of Intel officials in late September and agreed to withhold publication of their findings until the chipmaker was able to patch the vulnerability.

In July, the researchers presented research that showed how to attack another Intel technology known as AMT, or active memory management technology, using what's known as a Ring -3 rootkit. A PDF of the most recent research paper is here, and Intel's advisory is here. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.