AMD States Its CPUs Are Not Susceptible to SPOILER

Subject: Processors | March 18, 2019 - 08:38 AM |
Tagged: spoiler, speculation, spectre, rowhammer, meltdown, amd

AMD has issued a support article stating that its CPUs are not susceptible to the recently disclosed SPOILER vulnerability. Support Article PA-240 confirms initial beliefs that AMD processors were immune from this specific issue due to the different ways that AMD and Intel processors store and access data:

We are aware of the report of a new security exploit called SPOILER which can gain access to partial address information during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because of our unique processor architecture. The SPOILER exploit can gain access to partial address information above address bit 11 during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because AMD processors do not use partial address matches above address bit 11 when resolving load conflicts.

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SPOILER, one of the latest in the line of speculative execution vulnerabilities that have called into question years of processor architecture design, describes a process that can expose the mappings between virtual and physical memory. That's not a complete issue in and of itself, but it allows other attacks such as Rowhammer to be executed much more quickly and easily.

The research paper that initially disclosed SPOILER earlier this month states that Intel CPUs dating as far back as the first generation Core-series processors are affected. Intel, however, has stated that the vulnerabilities described in the paper can be avoided. The company provided a statement to PC Perspective following our initial SPOILER reporting:

Intel received notice of this research, and we expect that software can be protected against such issues by employing side channel safe software development practices. This includes avoiding control flows that are dependent on the data of interest. We likewise expect that DRAM modules mitigated against Rowhammer style attacks remain protected. Protecting our customers and their data continues to be a critical priority for us and we appreciate the efforts of the security community for their ongoing research.

Source: AMD

Remember Rowhammer; it has a long enough memory to remember you

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2018 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: rowhammer, security, throwhammer

Rowhammer dates back to 2015, a vulnerability which is able to flip bits in DRAM and NAND.  An enterprising attacker could use it to target page table entries which would allow them to gain root access to Linux machines, but it was a local attack and could not be performed remotely ... until now.  Researchers have discovered a new way to exploit this vector using carefully crafted network packages to attack high end network cards which utilize remote direct memory access.  That feature is very handy, allowing the network card to move large amounts of data without taking CPU cycles but it is vulnerable to this new attack.  Drop by Ars Technica for all the depressing details about Throwhammer.

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"For the first time, researchers have exploited the Rowhammer memory-chip weakness using nothing more than network packets sent over a local area network. The advance is likely to further lower the bar for triggering bit flips that change critical pieces of data stored on vulnerable computers and servers."

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Source: Ars Technica