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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.