Monday May 21, 2018

New Processor Vulnerability Discovered

Microsoft and Google Project Zero researchers announced today a new category of processor vulnerability known as a speculative execution side channel vulnerability, or Speculative Store Bypass, that is closely related to the Spectre Variant 1 vulnerability. Microsoft has also released a security advisory for the new vulnerability.

Impressively, AMD has already released a 5 page whitepaper on the vulnerability, as well as a post on their security updates page outlining that they will be providing updates back to the Bulldozer series of processors. Even more remarkable, is AMD stats that these updates are already in the hands of Microsoft, who is completing final testing and validation and will be released over the standard update process.

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I can't help but just shake my head at yet another CPU vulnerability being discovered, when I still have not gotten a BIOS update for the first Spectre on my X99 system. I must give kudos to AMD though, already having the update going through validation and ready day of release, not just for Windows, the AMD page also notes that Linux distributors are creating the system updates as well. However on the Intel side, is deafening silence. Thanks to @cageymaru for the story.

An attacker who has successfully exploited this vulnerability may be able to read privileged data across trust boundaries. Vulnerable code patterns in the operating system (OS) or in applications could allow an attacker to exploit this vulnerability. In the case of Just-in-Time (JIT) compilers, such as JavaScript JIT employed by modern web browsers, it may be possible for an attacker to supply JavaScript that produces native code that could give rise to an instance of CVE-2018-3639. However, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and other major browsers have taken steps to increase the difficulty of successfully creating a side channel.

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